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June 05, 2013

3 Rohingya Women Shot Dead in Confrontation with Burmese Police

by VOA News

Burmese activists and police said security forces have shot and killed three Muslim Rohingya women in a confrontation in the western state of Rakhine.

They said the confrontation happened Tuesday at a camp for internally displaced Rohingyas who fled sectarian violence between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims last year.

Burmese police told Western news agencies that fighting erupted when some Rohingyas refused orders from security forces to relocate from their shelters in the town of Mrauk-U. The police said the Rohingyas confronted security personnel with makeshift weapons, prompting the officers to open fire.

It was not immediately clear why Burmese authorities wanted to move the Rohingyas to new shelters.

About 140,000 people, many of them Rohingyas, fled their homes in Rakhine in 2012, during two waves of Buddhist-Muslim violence that killed at least 200 people. The violence spread to central and northeastern Burma this year.

Hundreds of global business leaders arrived in Burma this week to attend a regional meeting of the World Economic Forum, which opened Wednesday in the administrative capital, Naypyitaw.

Meanwhile, Burmese activists in Malaysia said Malaysian police detained hundreds of Burmese in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in deadly violence apparently linked to Burma's sectarian unrest. The activists said some of the Burmese were released after their legal status was verified.

Malaysian police have reported the killings of four Burmese in Kuala Lumpur in recent days. One man was slashed to death while sleeping at a car wash. Kuala Lumpur's deputy police chief Amar Singh Ishar Singh told Reuters that it appears the violence is a "spillover" from Burma. He said most of the incidents involve Burmese Muslims attacking Burmese Buddhists.

Malaysia is home to hundreds of thousands of Burmese, including legal migrant workers and many undocumented migrants. Thousands of Rohingyas also have sought asylum in Muslim-majority Malaysia after fleeing Burma. The Burmese government considers the Rohingyas to be illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.