Myanmar deploys troops to curb clashes
YANGON MYANMAR troops on Monday occupied areas of a provincial western capital and other towns where sectarian violence has caused several casualties over the past week, witnesses said.
On Sunday, President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency in Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh.
He said it was necessary to curb ‘anarchic activities.’ “The situation could deteriorate and could extend beyond Rakhine state if we are killing each other with such sectarianism, endless hatred, the desire for vengeance and anarchy,” Thein Sein said.
The United Nations said on Monday it would temporarily withdrawn on-essential staff from Rakhine and relocate them to Yangon.
Sectarian violence has raged since June 3 when a mob of Buddhists killed 10 Muslims that they pulled off a bus in Taungup township.
The attack was reportedly sparked by the rape and murder of a local woman on May 28, allegedly by three Muslims who were later arrested. One of the suspects was found hanged in his cell on Sunday.
On Friday, Muslims of the Rohingya ethnic minority allegedly went on a rampage in Maung Taw town, north of the capital Sittwe, burning about 500 houses and killing seven people, according to state media. As the violence spread to other townships, the government first imposed dusk-to-dawn curfews in some areas and then declared martiall aw throughout the state on Sunday.
“On Sunday night, we heard that Muslims burned houses in ByanPhyu, San Pya and Nar Zi villages where they chopped up some Buddhists,” Sittwe resident Zan Mya Wai said.
About 100 Rohingyas demonstrated outside the UN regional headquarters in Thailand on Monday calling for Secretary General Ban Kimoon to intervene in Rakhine state to prevent ‘genocide.’ If there is no intervention in a few days, all the Muslims (Rakhine) will disappear from this world,” their petition said. “We’re calling on the authorities to allow an independent body to go in to investigate the situation,” said Phil Robertson.