Sectarian tensions irrupt in Myanmar town
Officials claim ‘situation under control, but tense’
Win Myaing, a government spokesman in the restive state of Rakhine said that the trouble started in the coastal town of Thandwe yesterday.
Myaing said that at least two houses had been burned down by tonight. Security forces were trying to restore order. He also said, “The situation is under control but very tense.”
Myo Min a Muslim resident of Thandwe contacted by phone told AP that residents were fearful because they were hearing rumors that more Buddhists in Rakhine would come to Thandwe to destroy Muslim houses.
A similar incident occurred in Thandwe, 270 kilometres northwest of Yangon, three months ago when two Muslim houses were burned down after rumors circulated that a woman had been raped by Muslim men.
Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist country of 60 million people, has been gripped by sectarian violence since June of last year. Most of the 250 people killed have been Muslims and 140,000 others have been displaced.
The latest flare-up will reinforce doubts that President Thein Sein’s government can or will act to contain the violence.