Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Burma sectarian violence continues despite state of emergency

Gunshots rang out and residents fled burning homes on Tuesday as security forces in western Burma struggled to contain deadly ethnic and religious violence that has displaced thousands of people.

The conflict pitting ethnic Rakhine Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims has left at least a dozen civilians dead and hundreds of homes charred since it began in coastal Rakhine state on Friday.

President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency and deployed army troops to restore stability, warning that the unrest could threaten the fragile nation's recent democratic reforms as it emerges from half a century of military rule.

On Tuesday in the regional capital, Sittwe, police fired live rounds into the air to disperse a group of Rohingyas who could be seen burning homes in one neighbourhood. An Associated Press photographer saw hordes of people running to escape. Police fired skyward again in another neighbourhood to separate hundreds-strong mobs wielding sticks and stones. Read More