Myanmar Buddhist-Muslim violence leaves three dead, houses torched in Rakhine region


An injured Rakhine Buddhist man lies on a bed at the hospital in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar's western Rakhine state, after he was injured the day before in communal violence in the Mrauk U district of the state, on October 23, 2012.

At least three people have reportedly been killed in a fresh outbreak of violence between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.

Clashed also left more than a thousand houses burned, the Associated Press reported, citing the information ministry as saying the violence was continuing.

Since skirmishes between between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists began in June, about 70,000 people have been displaced and dozens have been killed, with rights groups warning of a humanitarian crisis, the AP added.

The latest unrest, which began Sunday night, is some of the worst reported.  

"We got the information that three people, an ethic Rakhine man and two Muslim women, were killed at Pandeinkone village during yesterday's [Monday's] clashes," Hla Thein, Rakhine State chief justice told Agence France-Presse, adding: "It's difficult to control the situation."

Authorities imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew after the latest bloodshed, the LA Times wrote.

To avoid inflaming the situation, Muslim youth groups on Tuesday called off a planned march in Yangon to protest perceived ill treatment of Muslims and Rohingya — whom many view as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Abu Tahay, a Rohingya with the National Democratic Party for Development, told the LA Times that Rohingya had lived in Burma for generations.

The violence cast a shadow over reforms by President Thein Sein that included the election of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to parliament.

The United Nations had raised fears of a crackdown on Muslims in Rakhine, however the Myanmar government rejected accusations of abuse by security forces and set up a commission to investigate the violence.

Yangon earlier rejected a UN-led inquiry.