Fighting between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims restarted on Sunday. So far, in addition to the dead, 72 people have been injured and some 2,000 homes set on fire. Myanmar president rails against manipulators who are behind the violence, pledges action by the military and the authorities to restore stability. Bangladesh tightens controls to stop refugees from reaching its coasts.
Yangon (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Interethnic clashes between majority Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims have caused the death of more than 100 people in Rakhine, a state in western Myanmar on the border with Bangladesh, this according to official government sources. The authorities are now concerned that the strife could harm the country’s reputation, undermining the peace process and democratisation. In view of this, President Thein Sein warned that the military and police would act to restore peace by force if necessary.
Rakhine State spokesman Win Myaing said 112 people died in clashes that began Sunday between Buddhist Rakhinese and the Muslim Rohingya, with 72 people reportedly injured, including 10 children. Earlier, the authorities had announced that almost 2,000 homes had been burnt down during the violence. As a result, they imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew.
Parts of the state have been under a state of emergency since 10 June. Matters could still get worse. Until yesterday, the official number of victims was low according to the media because of delays by local officials in making public the real figures.
In a strongly worded statement, Myanmar President’s Office warned that manipulators responsible for the recent sectarian clashes in Rakhine state would be exposed. Because of them, Burmese Muslims have cancelled celebrations for the Feast of Sacrifice (Eid al-Adha).