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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid