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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid