[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

Twelve arrested after fresh unrest in Myanmar

Dozens of homes set ablaze in rioting in central village of Kanbalu following attempted rape of woman.

Last Modified: 25 Aug 2013 16:58
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Myanmar has been grappling with sectarian unrest since 2011. [Reuters]

At least 12 people have been arrested after a renewed bout of religious violence in Myanmar's northern Sagaing region in which dozens of homes were set ablaze.

The Ministry of Information said the sectarian unrest in a central village of Kanbalu followed the attempted rape of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man on Saturday evening.

According to the statement, after the man was detained, about 150 villagers and three Buddhist monks gathered at the police station, demanding he be handed over to them.

When the police refused, the mob rioted, destroying Muslim bulildings, throwing rocks at police and attacking firemen

About 1,000 Buddhists, some carrying sticks and swords, attacked Muslim villagers the same night, destroying more than 40 homes and shops, witnesses said.

Calm was restored on Sunday. Witnesses said some Muslims fled to neighbouring villages or sheltered in a Muslim school.

A Muslim eyewitness said the cause of the unrest appeared to have been an argument between a young Muslim man and a Buddhist woman, but he denied the man attempted to rape the woman.

Myanmar has been grappling with sectarian violence since the country's military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.

The unrest began last year in the western state of Rakhine, where Buddhists accuse the Rohingya Muslim community of illegally entering the country and encroaching on their land.

Last week watchdog Physicians for Human Rights said Myanmar risked "catastrophic" levels of conflict with "potential crimes against humanity and/or genocide" if authorities failed to stem anti-Muslim hate speech and a culture of impunity around the clashes.

Rights groups have accused authorities of being unable or unwilling to contain the unrest, which has left about 250 people dead and more than 140,000 homeless. The vast majority of victims have been Muslim, who make up at least four percent of the population. Myanmar has rejected the claims.

311

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
People are starving in southern Somalia while relief efforts are blocked by government and rebel fighting.
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Experts from Minamata, Japan check for signs of mercury illnesses in Ontario, Canada.
join our mailing list