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Fresh Outbreak of Communal Violence in Burma's Rakhine State

  • VOA News

Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Burma Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Burma's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.

Shofica Belcom, 25, waits with other mothers at a Burma Red Cross health clinic near Sittwe, capital of Burma's Rakhine state, October 14, 2012.

Burmese security forces trying to put an end to clashes pitting Buddhists against Muslims, have moved into a remote area of western Burma.

Rakhine state Chief Justice U Hla Thein tells VOA Burmese three people died and more than 600 homes burned to the ground after violence flared north of the capital of Sittwe.

The latest unrest began Sunday in Minbyar and later spread to nearby Mrauk-U, two remote areas north of the capital of Sittwe.

Tensions between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims have been rising since June when widespread violence left dozens dead and tens of thousands displaced.

The June violence erupted following the alleged rape and murder of a Buddhist woman by three Muslim men. The unrest prompted fears of a humanitarian crisis among the Rohingya, who are denied citizenship and many basic rights in Burma.

The unrest, which led to a state of emergency in Rakhine, has threatened to undermine the reforms enacted by Burma's new nominally civilian government.

Some rights groups say the Burmese military, which has a long history of abusing minorities, unfairly targeted Muslims during the unrest. Burma's government denies the charges.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.
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