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

Thousands of Ethiopian Israelis Rally Against Racism

PM Netanyahu says he will meet Damas Pakada, the Ethiopia-born Israeli soldier who was filmed being beaten by two policemen More

Ten Migrants Drown in Mediterranean, 4,800 Rescued

All of those rescued are being ferried to Italian ports, with some arriving on Italy's southernmost island, Lampedusa, and others taken to Sicily and Calabria More

HRW: Saudis Using US Cluster Bombs in Yemen

Human Rights Watch says photographs, video and other evidence have emerged indicating cluster munitions have been used in 'recent weeks' in airstrikes in Houthi stronghold in northern Yemen 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.
From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil Wari
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 03, 2015 1:12 AM
Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video From Aleppo To Berlin: Band of Brothers Escapes Civil War

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the civil war in their country and journeyed to Europe by boat across the Mediterranean. It is a terrifying ordeal with dangers at every turn. A group of Syrian brothers and their friends describe their ordeal as they try to reach Germany. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports. ...
Video

Video Rural Nepal Suffers Brunt of Quake’s Devastation

Nepal is still coming to grips with the full extent of the devastation and misery caused by last Saturday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake. Some of the hardest-hit communities have been cut off by landslides making it difficult to assess the precise toll. A VOA News crew has been among the first to reach a few of the smaller, remote communities. Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Sindhupolchak district, east of Kathmandu, which suffered greatly in Nepal’s worst quake in more than 80 years.
Video

Video Black Families Use Baltimore Case to Revisit 'Police Talk'

Following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody this month, VOA interviewed black families throughout the eastern U.S. city of Baltimore about how they discuss the case. Over and over, parents pointed to a crucial talk they say every black mother or father has with their children. Victoria Macchi has more on how this conversation is passed down through generations.
Video

Video Middle East Atheist Channel Defies Taboo

In Egypt, a deeply religious country in a deeply religious region, atheism is not only taboo, it is dangerous. It is sometimes even criminal to publicly declare nonbelief. Despite the danger, one group of activists is pushing back with a new online channel that defends the right not to believe. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Nepal Quake Survivors Tell Their Stories

Against all hope, rescuers have found a few more survivors of the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal last Saturday. Mountain climbers and hikers trapped in remote places also have been airlifted to safety, and aid is finally reaching people in the areas closest to the quake's epicenter. Survivors and rescuers are now recounting their experience. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Lessons for Germany, Europe Remain on Anniversary of WWII's End

The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will be marked May 8-9 in all European countries except Germany, which lost the war. How is the war viewed there, and what impact is it still having? From Berlin, VOA’s Al Pessin reports.
Video

Video 'Woman in Gold' Uses Artwork as Symbol of Cultural Identity

Simon Curtis’ legal drama, "Woman in Gold," is based on the true story of an American Jewish refugee from Austria who fights to reclaim a famous Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis during World War II. It's a haunting film that speaks to the hearts of millions who have sought to reclaim their past, stripped from them 70 years ago. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
Video

Video Nepal Town Destroyed By Quake Counts Itself Lucky

Foreign search teams on Wednesday began reaching some of the communities outside Kathmandu that suffered worse damage than Nepal’s capital from last Saturday’s massive earthquake. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman is in Sankhu - a town of about 10,000 people - where there is relief the death toll is not higher despite widespread destruction.
Video

Video First Surgical Glue Approved for Use Inside Body

While medical adhesives are becoming more common, none had been approved for use inside the body until now. Earlier this year, the first ever biodegradable surgical glue won that approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on the innovation and its journey from academia to market.
Video

Video Somali Hotel Chain Owner Strives to Make a Difference

Many in the Somali diaspora are returning home to make a new life despite the continuing risks. Since 2011 when a military campaign against Al-Shabab militants began making progress, members of the diaspora community have come back to open hospitals, schools, hotels, restaurants and other businesses. Abdulaziz Billow in Mogadishu profiles the owner of a chain of hotels and restaurants who is helping to bring change to the once-deadly Somali capital.
Video

Video Study: One in Six Species Threatened with Extinction

Climate change is transforming the planet. Unless steps are taken to reduce global warming, scientists predict rising seas, stronger and more frequent storms, drought, fire and floods. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, a new study on species extinction underscores the need to take action to avoid the most catastrophic effects of rising temperatures.
Video

Video Taviani Brothers' 'Wondrous Boccaccio' Offers Tales of Love, Humor

The Italian duo of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani have been making movies for half a century: "The Night of the Shooting Stars," "Padre Padrone," "Good Morning, Babylon." Now in their 80s, the brothers have turned to one of the treasures of Italian culture for their latest film. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver reports.
Video

Video Child Migrants Cross Mediterranean Alone, Face Unknown Future

Among the thousands of migrants making the deadly journey by boat to Europe, there are unaccompanied girls and boys. Some have been sent by relatives to earn money; others are orphaned or fleeing war. From a shelter for young migrants in the Sicilian town of Caltagirone, VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Baltimore Riots Shed Light on City’s Troubled Past

National Guard troops took up positions Tuesday in Baltimore, Maryland, as authorities tried to restore order after rioting broke out a day earlier. It followed Monday's funeral of a 25-year-old black man who died while in police custody earlier this month. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Challenges Await Aid Organizations on the Ground in Nepal

A major earthquake rocked Nepal on Saturday and killed thousands, injured thousands more and sent countless Nepalese outside to live in makeshift tent villages. The challenges to Nepal are enormous, with some reconstruction estimates at around $5 billion. Aid workers from around the world face challenges getting into Nepal, which likely makes for a difficult recovery. Arash Arabasadi has the story from Washington.

Poll: Baltimore Police Charged

Poll archive

VOA Blogs