Quantcast
Latest Stories

At least 10 dead in Myanmar riots—MP


Smoke and flames billow from a burning building set ablaze in Meikhtila, where ethnic unrest between Buddhists and Muslims continues, in Mandalay division, central Myanmar, Thursday, March 21, 2013. AP PHOTO

MEIKTILA, Myanmar—At least 10 people have been killed in riots in central Myanmar, an MP said Thursday, prompting international concern at the country’s worst communal unrest since a wave of Buddhist-Muslim clashes last year.

Huge plumes of black smoke were seen rising above the town of Meiktila after buildings were set ablaze in a second day of fighting in the previously peaceful area, where a night-time curfew was imposed.

Several mosques were reported to have been torched.

The United States said it was “deeply concerned” by the unrest, which according to police erupted on Wednesday after an argument in a Muslim-owned gold shop intensified and caused about 200 people to fight on the streets.

Win Htein, a member of the opposition National League for Democracy party, said he had seen bodies at the scene of fresh clashes Thursday.

“More than 10 people were killed,” he told AFP from the town, which is his constituency seat.

The unrest comes at a time of heightened tensions between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar.

Communal conflict in a different region, the western state of Rakhine, left at least 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced last year, overshadowing international optimism about the country’s widely praised political reforms since the end of military rule two years ago.

In a brief statement, the US embassy said it was closely monitoring the new violence and extended “deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and property in the violence.”

UN resident coordinator Ashok Nigam called for all parties involved “to exercise the utmost tolerance and restraint within their communities”.

A local resident, who asked not to be named, said he had seen “many dead bodies,” adding: “The situation is getting worse. The police cannot control the people.”

An AFP photographer saw three burned bodies and houses on fire.

“We’re scared. We keep the women and children at a safer building close to the police station,” another local resident said.

Police said several mosques were destroyed and a Buddhist monk was among two killed on Wednesday, but they did not give an updated toll for Thursday.

The local hospital said it had attended to five dead and 25 wounded.

“Two died from burn injuries and the other three were killed because of wounds sustained from knives and sticks,” a hospital official said, asking not to be named.

Ko Ko Gyi, a member of the 88 Generation political activist group, who traveled to Meiktila on Wednesday, said people from both communities were fleeing their homes for fear of being attacked.

Myanmar’s Muslims—largely of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent—account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population, although the country has not conducted a census in three decades.

Muslims entered Buddhist-majority Myanmar en masse as indentured laborers from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, which ended in 1948, but despite their long history they have never been fully integrated.

Sectarian unrest has occasionally broken out in the past in some areas across the country, with Rakhine state a flashpoint for the tensions.

Since violence broke out there last year, thousands of Muslim Rohingya—including a growing number of women and children—have fled the conflict in rickety boats, many heading for Malaysia.

Win Htein said there were around 30,000 Muslims in Meiktila out of a total population of around 80,000 but that no similar clashes had happened in his lifetime.

“I think it is a consequence of what happened in Rakhine state last year,” he added.

The UN Human Rights Council Thursday passed a resolution calling on the Myanmar government to launch an independent investigation into reports of human rights violations, also lamenting “persisting inter-communal tensions.”

The resolution, tabled by the European Union, was adopted unanimously by the 47-member council.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Myanmar , Religion , Unrest




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
Advertisement

News

  • Malang the croc must regain strength before return to swamp, says mayor
  • Palace: Lacson’s version of Napoles testimony to be evaluated
  • Scientists eye iceberg bigger than Guam
  • Drilon: I’m not on Napoles’ list
  • Sonar finds 1888 San Francisco shipwreck
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • Gongs and southern dances star in a workshop at San Francisco Bayanihan Center
  • This woman ate what?
  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • Entertainment

  • Smithsonian wants photos, videos for ‘Day in the Life of Asian Pacific Americans’
  • What Garcia Marquez left behind
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Business

  • How ‘one percent’ economic elite was uncovered
  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Obama to visit Filipino soldiers in Fort Bonifacio
  • Fil-Am youth conferences unite under one theme
  • Embassy advisory: Filipinos still need visas to enter US
  • No travel restriction to Mideast, DFA clarifies
  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement