They're gone from the market, missing from the port, too terrified to walk on just about any street downtown.
Three-and-a-half months after some of the bloodiest clashes in a generation between Myanmar's ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and stateless Muslims known as Rohingya left the western town of Sittwe in flames, nobody is quite sure when — or even if — the Rohingya will be allowed to resume the lives they once lived here.
The conflict has fundamentally altered the demographic landscape of this coastal state capital, giving way to a disturbing policy of government-backed segregation that contrasts starkly with the democratic reforms Myanmar's leadership has promised the world since half a century of military rule ended last year.
While the Rakhine can move freely, some 75,000 Rohingya have effectively been confined to a series of rural displaced camps outside Sittwe and a single downtown district they dare not leave for fear of being attacked.
For the town's Muslim population, it's a life of exclusion that's separate, and anything but equal.
Image: In this photo taken on Sept. 8, 2012, a policeman provides security as Muslims gather to meet U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell, unseen, at a refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State, western Myanmar.