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Sectarian clashes in Myanmar claim lives
Three people killed and houses burned down as Muslim Rohingya and Buddhists clash in Rakhine state, authorities say.
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 11:14
More than 50,000 Muslims and up to 10,000 Buddhists are thought to be displaced across Rakhine state [AP]

At least three people have been killed in clashes between Muslim Rohingya and Buddhists in western Myanmar, authorities say.

The unrest in Rakhine state also left hundreds of homes burned to the ground, officials said on Tuesday.

The clashes show that tensions between the two communities remain after widespread violence in June left dozens dead, tens of thousands displaced and prompted rights groups to warn of a humanitarian crisis.

"We got the information that three people, an ethnic Rakhine man and two Muslim women, were killed at Pandeinkone village during yesterday's clashes," Hla Thein, Rakhine state chief justice, told the AFP news agency.

"It's difficult to control the situation."

Thein said the violence started in Minbyar township and spread to Mrauk-U, adding that authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the townships on Monday and both areas were calm on Tuesday.

Stateless people

More than 50,000 Muslims and up to 10,000 Buddhists are thought to be displaced across Rakhine state, where people from both communities were forced to flee as mobs torched entire villages in June's flare-up. The violence broke out after the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men.

 

Myanmar's government has rejected accusations of abuse by security forces in Rakhine, after the United Nations raised fears of a crackdown on Muslims.

The stateless Rohingya have long been considered by the UN to be one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in neighbouring Bangladesh, the Rohingya are viewed as illegal immigrants by the Myanmar government and many Burmese - who call them "Bengalis".

The UN estimates their number at 800,000. But the government does not count them as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups, and so - like Bangladesh - denies them citizenship.

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