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Fresh Muslim-Buddhist clashes in Myanmar, 3 killed

Last Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 15:53

Zeenews Bureau

Yangon: Hundreds of houses were torched and three killed in fresh sectarian clashes that erupted between the Buddhists and Muslims in western Myanmar, authorities said on Tuesday.

The ethnic clashes that erupted Sunday night in two villages in Rakhine`s Min Bya township, as pera BBC report, continued till Monday when more houses were burnt.

The riots claimed the lives of one Buddhist man and two Muslim women, said Rakhine state Attorney-General Hla Thein. More than 340 homes, most made of wood, were also destroyed in arson attacks.

Authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the clashes-hit villages, it was reported.

The clashes come after the deadly June violence when several were killed and thousands had to flee, when ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims clashes vehemently, leading to a state of emergency in the state of Rakhine.

The clashes in June were triggered by the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Rakhine men in late May.

The last serious clashes in Rakhine state took place in August, when government officials said seven people were killed in the town of Kyauktaw. The United Nations said 600 homes were also burned at the time.

The crisis in Myanmar`s west goes back decades and is rooted in a highly controversial dispute over where the region`s Muslim inhabitants are really from. Although many Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, they are widely denigrated here as foreigners intruders who came from neighboring Bangladesh to steal scarce land.

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. Human rights groups say racism also plays a role: Many Rohingya, who speak a distinct Bengali dialect and resemble Muslim Bangladeshis, have darker skin and are heavily discriminated against.

The conflict has proven to be a major challenge for the government of President Thein Sein, which has embarked on a year of democratic reforms after half a century of military rule ended in 2011.

With Agency Inputs

First Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 12:57

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