Myanmar: Sectarian violence worsens


Supporters of Pakistan's outlawed Islamic hardline group Jamaat ud Dawa (JD) shout anti-Myanmar slogans against sectarian violence in the country that left at least 80 people dead, during a protest in Lahore on Aug. 3, 2012. Myanmar security forces opened fire on Rohingya Muslims, committed rape and stood by as rival mobs attacked each other during a recent wave of sectarian violence, a rights watchdog said on August 1.


Arif Ali

In an unstable region of western Myanmar authorities increased security measures as sectarian violence between Buddhists and Muslims Rohingyas continued.

This week, CNN reports, fighting in the state of Rakhine killed at least 50 people and wounded dozens. It's why, Myo Than, manager of the state government's information department, told CNN extra security forces were dispatched. 

Yesterday, a night-time curfew, imposed during the summer months, was extended into 2 more towns. 

Ashok Nigam, UN resident and humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said in a statement: "The UN is gravely concerned about reports of a resurgence of inter-communal conflict in several areas in Rakhine State which has resulted in deaths and has forced thousands of people including women and children to flee their homes."

Over the summer, fighting between the majority Buddhists and the Rohingya minority killed over 80 people. In August, Human Rights Watch concluded, "Burmese security forces committed killings, rape, and mass arrests against Rohingya Muslims after failing to protect both them and Arakan Buddhists during deadly sectarian violence in western Burma in June 2012."

In Myanmar, also known as Burma, the Rakhine state is home to about 800,000 Rohingyas who live along Myanmar's border with Bangladesh. Bangladesh and Myanmar do not recognize the Rohingyas as citizens.