Myanmar unrest spreads: officials
Published: 24 Mar 2013 at 18.57,Online news:
YANGON - Dozens of houses and a mosque have been torched as communal violence spread in Myanmar, officials said Sunday, adding scores of people have been arrested.
Vijay Nambiar, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moons special adviser on Myanmar, looks at debris of the buildings destroyed during the ethnic unrest between Buddhists and Muslims in Meiktila, about 550 kilometres north of Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday. (AP Photo)"Altogether 43 houses and a mosque have been burned last night (Saturday) ... most of the houses belong to Muslims," a ward official in Yamethin town said.
"This kind of case has never happened here."
Yemethin is situated to the southeast of Meiktila, where lethal riots last week left at least 32 people dead and thousands displaced.
The Information Ministry said 52 people were arrested and 13 held in Meiktila town.
Police also made more arrests at two other villages as trouble between Buddhists and Muslims spread, the ministry said in a statement.
On a visit to the riot-stricken town where the violence began last Wednesday, Vijay Nambiar, the UN special adviser on Myanmar, expressed sadness at the death and destruction but said residents want to rebuild their shattered lives.
The clashes are a stark reminder of the challenge which worsening Muslim-Buddhist tensions poses to Myanmar's quasi-civilian regime as it tries to reform the country after decades of iron-fisted military rule.
The flare-up of violence is the most serious religious conflict since Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the western state of Rakhine last year, leaving at least 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced.