News / Asia

In Burma, Sectarian Clashes Trigger State of Emergency

Unidentified man photographs bodies burning in the wake of sectarian riots in Meikhtila, Burma, March 22, 2013.
Unidentified man photographs bodies burning in the wake of sectarian riots in Meikhtila, Burma, March 22, 2013.
VOA News
Burma's government has declared a state of emergency in a central region where three days of Buddhist-Muslim clashes have left at least 20 people dead.
 
Witnesses reported seeing charred bodies in the streets Friday and flames billowing from buildings, including mosques, in the town of Meiktila.
 
Win Htein, a member of parliament from Meiktila, told VOA he saw victims lying in the streets and rioters burning property and looting Muslim homes.
 
"When I was off from home this morning, there are three bodies on the street of Thiri Mingalar quarter, but I can’t estimate numbers of injured," he said. "I don’t think there are many injured, because [victims] were mostly killed out-right. Once they were caught, the victims were killed and burnt down."
 
Authorities fear the death toll from the ongoing unrest, which began Wednesday after an argument between a Buddhist customer and a Muslim gold proprietor, could grow. Officials have imposed a nighttime curfew, and many residents of Meiktila say they are afraid to leave their homes.
 
Scarce details
Details on the clashes have been scarce, since many reporters say they have been prevented from covering the conflict and threatened by Buddhist monks who are leading the mobs.
 
The United States and the United Nations have called for an end to the violence, Burma's worst sectarian unrest since last year's clashes between Buddhists and ethnic Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state.
 
Amnesty International called the latest violence "very worrying," saying it shows that tension between the two communities is spreading to other parts of the country.
 
Clashes last year in Rakhine State killed about 200 people and left more than 100,000 others homeless, mainly ethnic Rohingya Muslims.
 
During the Rakhine unrest, rights groups accused Burmese security forces of failing to protect Buddhists and Muslims. Human Rights Watch said security forces "unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya."
 
Rights groups have since said anti-Muslim leaflets have been distributed at monasteries in some areas of the country, with many warning of more violence against Muslims.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid