Myanmar crisis may turn into ‘terrorism’

Myanmar crisis may turn into ‘terrorism’

YANGON - Agence France-Presse
Myanmar crisis may turn into ‘terrorism’

Myanmar soldiers return from an area of unrest in the Rakhine state. The government says the bloodhshed may develop into ‘armed terrorist acts.’ EPA photo

Communal bloodshed in western Myanmar risks developing into “armed terrorist acts,” the government said Oct. 31, after security forces were targeted by homemade firearms in deadly fighting.

Myanmar said 180 guns were seized during the new wave of clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state, which has killed dozens, displaced tens of thousands and seen whole neighborhoods razed.

It said several people had been arrested on suspicion of making the weapons. “The clashes between two communities are likely to turn from normal unrest to armed terrorist acts after the security forces were attacked with handmade guns,” the government said. Myanmar said both local and international organizations were “involved” in the conflict, without elaborating on their identities or exact role.

Meanwhile, refugee organizations said Myanmar’s neighbors should prepare to accept refugees from the Rohingya community who may try to flee abroad to escape bloody communal violence.

“We are appealing to countries to keep borders open and to ensure safe access and whatever assistance they can provide,” said Vivian Tan, Asia-Pacific spokeswoman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “The main thing is that they have a safe place to land,” she said. Human Rights Watch warned this week of a potential “dramatic increase in the number of Rohingya Muslims taking to the sea this year” in the wake of the unrest.