The scourge of radical Islamism has ripped apart the country of Myanmar and displaced thousands of Buddhist Arakanese, Arakanese subgroups, and Hindus to other places within the country and refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
On Tuesday, the Irrawaddy published the story of 8-year-old Muni, who now is one of the sole survivors in her Hindu family, after eight of her relatives were reportedly killed by Muslim militants one week ago in Kha Mauk Seik village, some 40 miles from downtown Maungdaw, in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The little girl had left her family to work in a safer area with a friend, Mina Kumari, also in Maungdaw Township, six months earlier.
Through an interpreter, on Sunday, Muni gave a statement to The Irrawaddy, saying she believed that her parents, grandmother, newborn brother, sisters and brothers-in-law had been killed by Muslim militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The Myanmar government finally declared ARSA a terrorist organization following the attack of 30 police outposts on Aug. 25.
As a result of religious violence that has been ongoing since October 2016, thousands of Hindus have been displaced. Bangladesh’s Daily Star reported that on Sep. 1, around 400 Hindus left Rakhine State at once and made way to Bangladesh, staying at a makeshift camp in Kutupalong, alongside displaced Muslims.
The Daily Star says that since the violence broke out between ARSA and the Myanmar government, more than 80 members of various religious communities in Rakhine State had been killed by unidentified armed men believed to be Muslims.
Journalists are barred from the conflict zone, so The Irrawaddy spoke to religious leaders and relatives of the deceased in Sittwe, the capital of Myanmar.
“The news about Kha Mauk Seik was heard on Saturday, and they are so desperate. They have no family members left to take care [of] them,” said U Maung Hla, the vice chairman of the Rakhine State Hindu Council, referring to 8-year-old Muni and another girl—16-year-old, Kajali—who told The Irrawaddy that since she left Maungdaw four months ago, she had lost nine relatives.
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