Buddhist protesters block aid shipment to Rohingya

Buddhist protesters block aid shipment to Rohingya
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Cox Bazar: Buddhist protesters on Wednesday tried to block an aid shipment for the stranded Muslims in Rakhine State. The Police in Myanmar clashed with the mob who threw petrol bombs on the shipment.

The police fired in the air to disperse the protesters. The 300-strong mob in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe gathered at a jetty where a boat carrying relief goods was preparing to travel upriver to Maungdaw, Al Jazeera reported.

The mob forced the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to unload the aid from the boat and prevented it from leaving, as reported on Thursday, quoting Myanmar’s Information Committee.

The ICRC confirmed the incident and said it would continue to try and deliver relief to the area.
“We will carry on; nothing has been put on hold,” Graziella Leite Piccoli, ICRC spokeswoman for Asia, told AFP news agency.

Police officers arrived at the scene, while Buddhist monks tried to calm the mob, but people began to hurl “stones at the riot police,” the report said. Eight people were detained, and several policemen were injured.

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Aid groups fear that tens of thousands trapped in Rakhine are desperate for support, even though humanitarian access remains difficult despite the government’s promise to allow safe passage.

Security forces have been accused of destroying dozens of Rohingya villages, emerged as a truck hired by the Red Cross and ICRC crashed in Bangladesh, killing nine people and injuring 10 others.

“It was carrying food to Rohingya refugees on the border, including those stranded in the no-man’s land,” Yasir Arafat, deputy police chief of Bandarban border district, told AFP.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have entered into Bangladesh since August 25, accommodating themselves into small camps and makeshift shelters near the border town of Cox’s Bazar.

The Bangladesh government is building a massive new camp nearby to shelter 400,000 people, but the UN says it will take time before it is equipped with tents, toilets and medical facilities.

Myanmar’s government has been condemned by global leaders urging the country to address the crisis and criticise the military for their attacks on Rohingya.