Three Dead In New Myanmar Clashes

by
Joon
Fresh communal violence has left at least three dead in western Myanmar, where more than 60 people have been killed in unrest this month, government officials said Wednesday.

A Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar cries as he is sent back after trying to cross the Naf river into Bangladesh

YANGON — Fresh communal violence has left at least three dead in western Myanmar, where more than 60 people have been killed in unrest this month, government officials said Wednesday.

Three Buddhists were killed on Tuesday in clashes in the village of Yathedaung, about 65 kilometres (40 miles) from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine state, according to an official who did not want to be named.

"The death toll could be higher," the official told AFP from Sittwe.

"We haven't got detailed information on how it started," he said, adding that monsoon rains had hampered transport and communication links to the area.

Despite the new outbreak of bloodshed, the official said the situation was "under control in most parts of Rakhine state", where emergency rule has been in place for more than a week.

The region has been rocked by rioting, arson and a cycle of revenge attacks involving Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya, prompting growing international concern.

The clashes have left more than 60 people dead, another official said, including 10 Muslims killed on June 3 by a Buddhist mob seeking revenge for the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman -- the apparent spark for the unrest.

Muslim Rohingya leaders say the real number of dead in remote villages could be much higher.

The wave of violence between Rakhine and Rohingya has also forced tens of thousands of people from both sides to flee their homes and seek shelter in relief camps.

The World Food Programme said Tuesday it has provided food to more than 65,000 people, estimating a further 25,000 are in need of help.

About 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, according to the United Nations, which describes them as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Neighbouring Bangladesh, where an estimated 300,000 Rohingya live, has been turning back Rohingya boats arriving on its shores since the outbreak of the unrest.

Myanmar President Thein Sein has warned the violence could disrupt the nation's fragile democratic reforms as it emerges from decades of army rule.