Five Muslims killed in Myanmar clashes
Fear grips western MyanmarAgence France Presse (Thandwe, Myanmar) / New Age Online
Five Muslims have been killed in sectarian clashes in western Myanmar, according to a new police toll Wednesday, after a mob of hundreds of Buddhists went on a rampage.
Terrified women and children hid in forests and police patrolled tense villages in western Myanmar Wednesday, residents said, following sectarian clashes which prompted international alarm.
A day after riots shook the area, President Thein Sein arrived in the town of Thandwe as part of his first visit to Rakhine state since a wave of religious violence erupted there last year.
Around 800 Buddhist rioters swept through one village on Tuesday burning homes and attacking Muslims, according to authorities.
"We are living in fear. Many people, including women and children, are hiding in the forest nearby," local Muslim official Myint Aung told AFP.
"We are disappointed that we have a government that is unable to provide security for us," he said, adding that the police had fired warning shots but could not control the mob.
Five Muslims were killed, a local police official said, including a 94-year-old woman who was stabbed to death.
Four Buddhists were injured in the fighting and a fifth was missing, while 59 houses and a mosque have been torched since tensions flared on Saturday, police said.
A large security presence was seen in the area on Wednesday. Locals picked through the charred rubble of a burnt-out mosque in one village, according to AFP reporters.
The international community has expressed growing disquiet at the fresh unrest in the strife-racked region, where tens of thousands of people remain displaced from earlier clashes that have left Buddhists and Muslims increasingly alienated from one another.
The United States said it was "deeply concerned" about the latest unrest and urged authorities to respond "decisively", in a statement issued by its embassy in Yangon.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called for "urgent action by the government to protect the vulnerable population" in a meeting with Myanmar's foreign minister on Tuesday, the UN said.
Around 250 people have been killed and more than 140,000 left homeless in several outbreaks of Buddhist-Muslim violence around the country since June 2012, mostly in Rakhine.
Attacks on minority Muslims have overshadowed political reforms in Myanmar as it emerges from military rule, piling pressure on Thein Sein, a former junta general who took power in 2011.
The Myanmar leader is expected to meet community leaders in Thandwe on Thursday after staying in the area overnight.
The region is home to the popular tourist destination of Ngapali Beach although no foreigners were believed to have been caught up in the unrest.
Thein Sein spent Tuesday visiting a different area of Rakhine populated mainly by stateless Rohingya Muslims.
In a message to a multi-faith conference carried in state media on Wednesday, he lamented "instigations" that turned "minor crimes into conflicts between the two communities and two religions".
Four major Myanmar Muslim organisations released an open letter to Thein Sein late Tuesday calling on the government to take urgent law-enforcement action.
"The concerns of minority Muslims around the country have reached peak levels. They feel they have no security," the letter said.
Two outbreaks of unrest in Rakhine last year left about 200 people dead, mostly Rohingya who are denied citizenship by Myanmar and viewed by the government and many local people as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
The latest clashes follow an argument over a parking space near a Muslim home last week.
Rights groups have in the past accused Myanmar security forces of complicity in the violence -- an allegation denied by the authorities.
Thousands of Rohingya boat people -- including women and children -- have fled the former junta-ruled country since last year, mostly heading for Malaysia on a perilous sea voyage.
comments powered by Disqus
The International Crimes Tribunal registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud on Wednesday lodged a general diary in connection with leaking a part of judgement against Salauddin Quader Chowdhury that was delivered on Tuesday... Full story
The International Crimes Tribunal registrar AKM Nasiruddin Mahmud on Wednesday said some parts of the draft judgement against Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was leaked... Full story
BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, who was sentenced to death by a war crimes tribunal for his involvement in crimes against humanity during the country’s Liberation War in 1971, was moved to a condemned cell in Kashimpur jail... Full story
Bangladesh Railway has started selling tickets in advance from today on various rail routes for Eid-ul-Azha festival revelers. BR opened its ticket counters for Eid-time travelers at 9:00am... Full story
The International Crimes Tribunal-1 termed the alleged ‘leakage’ of the verdict against Bangladesh Nationalist Party lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury ‘a foremost plot’ involving ‘a big investment’ of money... Full story
The death sentence imposed against a Bangladeshi MP convicted of crimes against humanity is not the way to bring justice to the many victims of the country’s war of independence... Full story
Some unidentified miscreants torched two buses of Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) at Jhagurjuli area under Sadar upazila of Comilla, early Wednesday... Full story
Daylong hartal called by Bangladesh Nationalist Party Chittagong chapter is underway in laxity as there is poor response from the city-dwellers... Full story
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta is tipped to win a nail-biting parliamentary confidence vote Wednesday which would deal a major blow to Silvio Berlusconi but could leave Italy more frail than ever... Full story
The U.S dollar treaded water and most Asian stock markets edged up on Wednesday as investors appeared hopeful the first partial U.S. government shutdown in 17 years will be short-lived and not have a broader impact on the economy... Full story
Iran is ready to defend itself against any Israeli attack, an Iranian envoy told the UN General Assembly after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to act alone to stop Iran getting a nuclear bomb... Full story