News / Asia

Burma Sending Army to Quell Sectarian Fighting

People carry weapons during riots in Meikhtila, Burma, Mar. 22, 2013.
People carry weapons during riots in Meikhtila, Burma, Mar. 22, 2013.
Daniel Schearf
Burma is sending the army to quell spreading sectarian unrest in the center of the country. The announcement came on the third day of fighting between Buddhists and Muslims that left at least 20 people dead and scores injured.
 
Burmese President Thein Sein Friday declared a state of emergency in four townships in the central part of the country to prevent deadly communal fighting and looting from spreading.
 
Burma's state television, MRTV-4, made the late afternoon announcement amid reports of continued clashes between armed groups of Buddhists and Muslims.
 
A crowd in Meikhitla, Burma loots merchandise from a shop, Mar. 22, 2013. (VOA)A crowd in Meikhitla, Burma loots merchandise from a shop, Mar. 22, 2013. (VOA)
x
A crowd in Meikhitla, Burma loots merchandise from a shop, Mar. 22, 2013. (VOA)
A crowd in Meikhitla, Burma loots merchandise from a shop, Mar. 22, 2013. (VOA)
The news reader said the order covered Meikhtila, Wan Twin, Ma Hlaing,and Thar Si townships.
 
He says in order to be more effective in controlling the situation, they will get help from the army.  This order, he says, will be effective until further notice.
 
A spokesperson from the office of Burma's president released a statement saying that despite the army's involvement the president has not declared martial law.
 
The area where fighting has been occurring is about 150 kilometers south of Mandalay.  
 
Clashes broke out in Meikhtila Wednesday after a dispute between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist customer got physical and groups of people took sides.  
 
Locals say hundreds of angry Muslims and Buddhists fought on the streets armed with knives and clubs, burned houses, and looted shops.
 
One man begged looters not to set fire to his business.  He asked them just to take what they want.
 
State media have been portraying the clashes as simply criminal without mentioning the fighting between religious divisions.  At the Meikhtila police station Friday, one local officer who answered the phone claimed the situation was under control.
 
Meanwhile, online images are circulating of charred bodies and burning homes and vehicles.
 
A local reporter in the township reached by phone described a chaotic scene.
 
"One thing is sure, law and order doesn't work.  And then, what [the] government announces and the ground situation is totally different," said the reporter.
 
Burma is a majority Buddhist nation but with numerous ethnic and religious minorities.
 
Tensions between Buddhists and Muslims have erupted in the past into violence and are still simmering over fighting last year.
 
In Burma's western Rakhine state clashes between Buddhists and Muslims left close to 200 people dead and 120,000 left homeless.  
 
International concerns are being expressed that, if the communal fighting is not properly handled, religious tensions could spread in Burma and disrupt its reform efforts.​

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: nasim khan from: kolkata
March 22, 2013 7:52 AM
Dear Muslim bros of Burma, it is very tough time and we all are very sad to see that the bros are being killed and their properties were destroyed, but keep faith in Allah and do not try do any such thing which may attract more atrocities, be nice and keep focus to get the education to their children who may become successful Doctor, Engineers etc (but one has to be good muslim who likes all)to force their enemies to accept them in future - Insha Allah


by: Prakash Kadam from: India
March 22, 2013 6:53 AM
People of Burma learned peace from Buddha,... not to fight each other...... Gautama will......blessing ......peace....in ....country....hope there will be no violence...in future.


by: ramalingam venkatraju from: india coimbatore 1
March 22, 2013 6:48 AM
why humans forget humanism, why very offen islamic do voilent ,very ,frequently, world wide, are others not human beings


by: dhrao from: india
March 22, 2013 6:35 AM
where ever Muslims are there in world they will not adjust with majority with no tolerance and hate for other religions


by: Richard1967 from: sheffield
March 22, 2013 6:28 AM
Oh the irony , religion strikes again

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid