Manadalay: Myanmar`s latest religious clashes began after a Buddhist woman was paid to make false rape claims against two Muslim brothers, state media reported Sunday.
Two men -- a Buddhist and a Muslim -- died in riots in the country`s second city Mandalay that flared on July 1 following social media reports that the Muslim men had raped a Buddhist employee at their tea shop.
More than 20 others were wounded as violence rocked the city for several days, the latest in a series of religious clashes that have bedevilled the former junta-run nation for two years.
But a police investigation found the woman was paid to fabricate the accusation against the men, the New Light of Myanmar reported.
The report, citing the Ministry of Home Affairs, said a medical examination of the woman -- named as Phyu Phyu Min -- found "no sign of rape or other violence".
"After a detailed investigation she confessed that she accused the two men because she was paid" to do so by two other people who apparently had a personal dispute with the tea shop owners.
The woman has been arrested alongside one of the people alleged to have paid her, the report said.
The unrest, which saw a curfew imposed as security forces moved in to disperse angry mobs, again spotlighted the incendiary nature of relations between Myanmar`s Buddhists and the Muslim minority.
Buddhist-Muslim clashes have left at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands displaced since fighting broke out in Myanmar`s western state of Rakhine in 2012.
Most of the victims have been Muslims. Violence has often erupted as a result of rumours or individual criminal acts.
While Mandalay has a sizeable Muslim minority and also plays host to a group of nationalist Buddhist monks, it had not suffered religious unrest on such a scale before.
Radical Buddhist monks have been accused of fanning tensions, with Mandalay-based hardline cleric Wirathu posting a link to the rape allegations just hours before the unrest broke out.
The deadly religious flare-ups have prompted warnings that the country`s fragile transition to democracy could be imperilled.
Responding to the rioting, President Thein Sein said "serious action" would be taken against those involved and hinted that hard-won media freedoms could be compromised if unrest continued.