Speaking to Today’s Zaman on Monday, Tin Soe, the general director of the Kalaban Press Network, a local media outlet established by Muslim Rohingyas in Bangladesh, said the atrocities took place as a result of provocation by Buddhists and the appearance of fabricated reports in the media.
Soe claimed that the fabricated reports of the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslims were consciously disseminated and led to widespread atrocities against Muslims. However, Soe argued that rapes of Muslim women, torture and mass killings of many Rohingyas have not come to the attention of the world’s media.
According to Soe, before the arrival of United Nations Human Rights observers, several scenarios were played out, with Rakhine Buddhists pretending to take shelter in temples and schools to convince UN officials that they are victims of intra-communal violence. In return, camps in which thousands of Rohingyas had gathered were dispersed to convince officials that they were empty.
Since the first reports about atrocities broke in world news agencies, Buddhists have intensified their violent acts against Muslims and killed 10 Muslim Rohingyas.
Since May 29, nearly 4,000 Muslim Rohingyas have been massacred and the fate of 8,000 others who have gone missing is unknown, Soe claims.
Fears and concerns have flared about those that are missing, in that they might be being held in prison or buried in mass graves. The Myanmar government has declined to comment on the issue so far. Soe, who is himself an ethnic Muslim Rohingya, said the most problematic areas are located along both sides of the Naf River between Myanmar and Bangladesh. Maungdaw and Bulhidaumg are the cities where the systematic killings are taking place, he said.
Noting that the government of Bangladesh is unable to meet the needs of the 500,000 Muslim Rohingyas who have taken shelter in the country, he said the government is only capable of providing for 29,000 people. According to Soe, the solution to the problem depends on negotiations between Muslim Rohingyas, Rakhine Buddhists and the Myanmar government under the auspices of the UN. There are 3 million Muslim Rohingyas, half of them residing in Myanmar. While 500,000 of them have taken shelter in Bangladesh, nearly 1 million others have scattered to other surrounding countries. Soe, who escaped to Bangladesh in 1979 after his involvement in political activities at university attracted attention, later established the Kalaban Press Network with other Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu received Muhammad Yunus, a representative of the Muslim Rohingyas, at his office in Ankara on Monday. In the meantime, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is launching a large campaign to mobilize the international community to take action to stop the atrocities against Muslim Rohingyas.