Burning of Rohingya refugee camp; Another incident where tens of civilians were killed

Myanmar Spring Chronicle – March 06 Scenes

MoeMaKa, March 07 2023

Burning of Rohingya refugee camp; Another incident where tens of civilians were killed

According to news reports, a fire broke out in a Rohingya refugee camp on March 5, destroying more than 2,000 temporary houses where Rohingya refugees live who fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh due to the 2017 genocide by the military.


In the sixth year of the refugee problem, 700,000 to 900,000 refugees who fled from Myanmar have to live in the area designated by the Bangladesh government, where they are living in densely packed houses built of wood and bamboo. As a result, when caught in a fire, it is difficult to extinguish and prevent the fire from spreading to other houses. According to the news, about 200 refugees have been separated from their families and are missing. It is not clear whether the children died in the fire or were separated and returned to their families during the incident. Although the cause of the fire is still not clearly known, local residents believe that it was arson.


No one would have expected that nearly one million Rohingya refugees who had to flee for their lives in August 2017, when the crisis started, would have to live in refugee camps for such a long time. As a neighboring country, they might think that this problem would be solved within a few months or 1–2 years. However, the political situation in Myanmar, the Rohingya refugee issue, and the armed conflict in Rakhine State that are happening repeatedly, are no longer a one-centered issue. When trying to solve a problem, if you can’t solve this problem and another related problem centered on the other content, it’s not easy to solve the original problem.

Regarding civil rights, taking action against those responsible in the armed forces and ensuring that a similar incident does not happen again, is a key issue for the Rohingya issue. While these issues were being adjudicated by the international court, a military coup occurred in Myanmar, so the issue of the military coup came before the Rohingya issue. In domestic politics, the situation has reached the point where the fight against the military dictatorship came first and other problems came second. In fact, it can be said that the military dictatorship is the root cause of both problems. On the other hand, there will be a difference of opinion on what should be the first priority to solve between the situation where nearly 1 million people are living in refugee camps, unable to work or study, and Myanmar’s decades-long struggle against the military dictatorship.

In Myanmar, the number of people who have fled their homes has increased from hundreds of thousands to millions, and currently, more than half a million are fleeing their homes due to the war.

After the armed conflict and mass killings occurred in Myanmar, there are more people who sympathize with the Rohingya refugee issue than before, but I see that it is a matter of discussion whether the fight against the military dictatorship and the issue of ethnic rights should be solved at the same time, or if the problem that is considered more important should be solved first and the problem of subjugation be solved later.


Another piece of news for today is about the NUG-held press conference regarding the incident in which tens of civilians were killed during a military operation in Tartaing Village in Sagaing Township, Sagaing Division, early this month.


Even before this incident, such incidents had been happening sporadically in Sagaing Division, the upper part of Magway Division, Chin State, and Kachin State. However, after the declaration of martial law by the military council on February 2, there has been an increase in the frequency of military activities in Sagaing, and the number of killings and arson has increased significantly compared to the previous period.


By looking at the brutal killings of civilians, regardless of women and children, it can be guessed that the military council is using the most severe and brutal methods to get the local people to abandon the armed movement for the goal of military superiority.


It is a proof that, as for the military that killed hundreds to thousands of Rohingya within a few weeks in northern Rakhine in 2017, they will not reluctance for such mass killings in Sagaing Division, Magway Division, Chin State, Kayah State, and Kachin State. It is true that evidence must be collected and recorded, but in order to prevent such mass killings from happening again, I think that it is necessary to find solutions on how domestic forces can prevent such killings rather than hoping for the help of international forces and international courts.




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