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Myanmar beach town imposes curfew as mobs run riot

October 3, 2013 DESTINATION, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The town and seaport of Thandwe in Myanmar, popular with tourists for its wonderful Ngapali Beach, has been placed under strict curfew following riots.

The curfew extends from 6pm to 6am, ending any hope of an evening stroll along the beach (which stretches for three kilometres and overlooks the Indian Ocean) or finding some quiet nightlife.

China’s Xinhua news agency reports that the trouble started when a shopkeeper swore at the driver of a motorised three-wheeler cyclo-taxi parked outside his shop. Apparently the taxi-driver was Buddhist and the shopkeeper Muslim. EGT_Artical Banner A 250x250

There are other accounts. Police officer Kyaw Naing told the Times of India clashes broke out in a village about 20 kilometres north of Thandwe after a Buddhist mob was accused of stabbing to death a 94-year-old woman. Whatever the cause, the ensuing riot saw about 80 houses burned down.

The violence coincided with a visit by Myanmar’s President Thein Sein to the troubled region. Thandwe is in Rakhine state, where areas are inhabited by stateless Rohingya Muslims, viewed by the government and by many local people as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. Myanmar denies them citizenship and many in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar resent their presence in the country.

The Times of India reports that violence over the past year has killed hundreds of people, the vast majority of them Muslims, and driven more than 140,000 people from their homes.

In recent days, bands of ethnic Rakhine Buddhist mobs brandishing swords and sticks have reportedly been torching Rohinga homes.

Written by : Peter Needham

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