Elderly woman killed in Myanmar sectarian woman killed in Myanmar ... Many of them including women and children are still hiding ... the state's majority ethnic Rakhine Buddhist population.

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  • Elderly woman killed in Myanmar sectarian violenceWednesday, 02 October 2013 22:58 -

    By KHIN MAUNG WINAssociated Press

    THANDWE, Myanmar (AP) - Terrified Muslim families hid in forests in western Myanmar onWednesday, one day after rampaging Buddhist mobs killed a 94-year-old woman and burneddozens of homes despite the first trip to the volatile region by President Thein Sein since unresterupted last year.

    The violence near Thandwe, a coastal town the president was due to visit later Wednesday onthe second day of his tour of Rakhine state, raised new questions about government's failure tocurb anti-Muslim attacks and or protect the embattled minority.

    The latest unrest flared in several villages outside Thandwe, which was tense but quiet, withsecurity forces out in force ahead of the president's arrival. That security presence, however,failed to deter the attackers a day earlier, with soldiers and police making no efforts to step in onTuesday, according to witnesses.

    In Thabyuchaing, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Thandwe, more than 700 rioters, someswinging swords, took to the streets, police officer Kyaw Naing said. An elderly Muslim womandied from stab wounds in the clashes that followed, the officer said, putting the number ofhouses set on fire at between 70 and 80.

    Another officer, however, said only 19 homes were burned.

    Smoldering buildings - and several injured Buddhist Rakhines - were also seen by TheAssociated Press in Shwe Hlay. A police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity becausehe did not have authority to talk to the media, said Linthi also was hit by rioters. Both villagesare about 17 kilometers (10 miles) from Thandwe.

    A Muslim resident of Thandwe, Myo Min, said a small mosque in Kyikanyet, about 27 miles from

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  • Elderly woman killed in Myanmar sectarian violenceWednesday, 02 October 2013 22:58 -

    Thandwe, was burned by attackers Tuesday night. Police said they were trying to confirm thatreport.

    Myo Min said he was concerned about the safety of families who fled Tuesday's violence. Manyfamilies in Thabyuchaing, he said, fled into forests when their village was attacked.

    "Many of them including women and children are still hiding and they are cornered and unableto come out," Myo Min said. "They need food and water and Muslim elders are discussing withauthorities to evacuate them or send food."

    One Muslim resident who fled Tuesday, Thar Thar, said he had fled to the home of a friend withhis wife and child. It was not clear how many people have fled.

    On Tuesday, he arrived in the state, Sittwe, then traveled to Mrauk-U, the spiritual heartland ofthe state's majority ethnic Rakhine Buddhist population. He also traveled to the northern town ofMaungdaw.

    Early Wednesday, Thein Sein visited both displaced Muslims and Buddhists in camps outsideSittwe, according to Myo Than, a state government official.

    Sectarian clashes that began in Rakhine in June 2012 have since morphed into an anti-Muslimcampaign that has spread to towns and villages nationwide. So far, hundreds of people havebeen killed and more than 140,000 have fled their homes, the vast majority of them Muslims.

    Many of those targeted have been ethnic Rohingya Muslims, considered by many in the countryto be illegal migrants from Bangladesh, though many of their families arrived generations ago.

    But in the latest flare-up this week, the victims were Kamans, another Muslim minority group,whose citizenship is recognized.

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  • Elderly woman killed in Myanmar sectarian violenceWednesday, 02 October 2013 22:58 -

    The trouble started Saturday, when a Buddhist taxi driver alleged he'd been verbally abused bya Muslim shop owner while trying to park his vehicle, according to a state governmentspokesman.

    Hours later, rocks were thrown at the man's home. And by Sunday, as anger spread, twohouses owned by Muslims were burned to the ground.

    Rights groups say Thein Sein's government has done little to crack down on religiousintolerance and failed to bridge a divide that has left hundreds of thousands of Muslimsmarginalized, many of them trapped in prison-like camps for those who have been displaced.

    Initially confined to Rakhine state, sectarian attacks have spread this year into Myanmar'sheartland, ravaging several other cities across the country. At the same time, a Buddhist-ledcampaign called "969" has taken root nationwide. Its supporters urge Buddhists to shop only atBuddhist stores and avoid marrying, hiring or selling their homes or land to Muslims.

    While radical monks have helped fuel the crisis, saying Muslims pose a threat to Buddhistculture and traditions, critics say a failure by the government and society as a whole to speakout is helping perpetuate the violence.

    "Political, religious and community leaders need to condemn hate speech," Jim Della-Giacomaof the International Crisis Group said in a statement.

    "Those who are spreading messages of intolerance and hatred must not go unchallenged.Otherwise, this issue could come to define the new Myanmar, tarnishing its international imageand threatening the success of its transition away from decades of authoritarianism," he said.

    Muslims, who account for about 4 percent of Myanmar's roughly 60 million people, have beenthe main victims of the violence, but they have been prosecuted for crimes related to theclashes far more often than members of the Buddhist majority.

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  • Elderly woman killed in Myanmar sectarian violenceWednesday, 02 October 2013 22:58 -

    Associated Press writer Aye Aye Win contributed to this report from Yangon, Myanmar.

    Source link: http://www.nbc29.com/story/23576806/buddhist-mobs-kill-1-torch-70-homes-in-myanmar

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