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Regions with significant populations
 Myanmar 50,000[1]
Arakanese language

The Kamein (Burmese: ကမိန်လူမျိုး), also known as the Kaman (ကမန်), are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group that primarily reside in Rakhine State, Myanmar. The name Kaman comes from Persian, meaning a "bow."[2] The Kaman are formally recognized by the Burmese government and classified as one of the 7 ethnic groups comprising the Rakhine national race.[3] The Kaman are considered indigenous and are widely acknowledged as Burmese citizens who hold national identity cards.[4][5][6]

The Kaman have been disproportionately affected by riots in Rakhine State in 2012.[7][6]


In 1660, a Mughal prince, Shah Shuja, escaped to Arakan (now Rakhine State), after unsuccessfully attempting to ascend to the Mughal throne.[8][9] The prince, along with his family and followers, relocated to Mrohaung, with the understanding that the king of Arakan would shelter him and provide ships for the prince to undergo pilgrimages to Mecca.[2] His escape was followed by a wave of Muslim immigrants from the Mughal Empire to Arakan.[8]

The king of Arakan, Sanda Thudhamma, first warmly received the prince, but relations soon deteriorated.[8] The prince, along with 200 followers and local Muslims, decided to overthrow the king of Arakan, who had reneged on his earlier promises.[10] In February 1661, Shah Shuja and some members of his entourage were killed by Arakanese soldiers.[8] In 1663, Shah Suja's children, including daughters who were taken into the Arakanese king's harem, were also killed.[8] Shah Shuja's surviving soldiers were inducted into the Arakanese special palace guard, in a special archer's unit called Kaman (کمان, Persian "bow").[8][11]

These Kaman units, alongside Afghan mercenaries from Northern India, became influential in the political machinations of the Arakan kingdom, until 1710, when King Sanda Wizaya I was able to suppress their power and exiled most of the Kaman to Ramree Island (Yanbye Island).[8] The descendants of these Kaman units still live in Ramree and in villages near Akyab.[8]

There were 2,686 Kamans in Arakan in 1931.[8]