BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AFP) – Muslim-majority Kyrgyzstan cancelled an international football match with Myanmar yesterday over “a potential terror act”, as fears grow for the Southeast Asian country’s Rohingya Muslims.
At least 87,000 Muslims have arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing clashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to the UN.
Social media users in Kyrgyzstan had suggested staging a peaceful protest against the violence in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar ahead of today’s Asian Cup qualifying match.
“The match was cancelled according to the decision of Prime Minister Sapar Isakov and because of the potential threat of a terrorist act,” a spokeswoman for Kyrgyzstan’s football federation said.
The head of Kyrgyzstan’s football federation Semetei Sultanov said the match may be held in another country.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned of a looming “humanitarian catastrophe” in western Myanmar and urged the country’s security forces to show restraint after 400 people – most of them Rohingya Muslims – died in communal violence.
Reports of massacres and the systematic torching of villages by security forces – as well as by militants – have raised fears that the violence in Rakhine is spinning out of control.