Machete-wielding Muslims injured at least 12 Christian Rohingya, including children, forcing the relocation of at least 17 families in a Bangladeshi refugee camp, reports say.
Conflicting reports have made it difficult to determine the severity of the attack.
The Christian aid agency Barnabas Fund, however, reports that the 12 people were “seriously injured” after a hundred-person strong “extremist mob” attacked the “vulnerable” Christian community.
One person, according to that account, “went missing in the onslaught and was presumed dead at the time of writing.”
Knife and acid attacks, as well as attempted arson were also reported, with one man reportedly receiving head injuries when the mob hurled stones at a church. That church was reportedly ransacked, along with the victims’ homes. Ration cards, computers, and other items were also stolen.
Camp security allegedly helped the mob perpetuate the attack, while confiscating mobile phones to destroy evidence.
Police claimed only four Christians and one Muslim were wounded in the attack, portraying it as an “ordinary law-and-order incident.”
Mahbub Alam Talukder, the refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, told BenarNews the 17 Christian Rohingya families “have been taken to a UNHCR transit camp.”
Mostafa Mohammad Sazzad Hossain, the UNHCR spokesman in Dhaka, declined to comment on the relocation of the refugees to BenarNews, saying the issue was “sensitive.”
The attack was reportedly carried out by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingya insurgent group. ARSA has denied that it is Islamist, but rather claims that to be defending the rights of oppressed Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The Jan. 27 attack came several days after the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee warned that Rohingya Christians were in “a most difficult position,” as they were both persecuted for their religion by the Myanmar government in Rakhine, and now “face hostility and violence from a small number of other camp residents.”