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Rakhine state curfew widens

Security tightened after more deadly clashes

A Muslim neighborhood in Sittwe burned during sectarian clashes A Muslim neighborhood in Sittwe burned during sectarian clashes
  • Daniel Wynn, Yangon
  • Myanmar
  • August 9, 2012
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Authorities in Rakhine state yesterday imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in Kyauktaw township following an outbreak of new sectarian violence on Sunday between ethnic Rakhines and Muslim Rohingyas that left seven people dead.

The curfew, which is in effect from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., has also been imposed in six other areas of Rakhine state in an effort to quell violence that has so far claimed the lives of 78 people, according to official figures.

Local authorities say that Sunday’s attacks also saw the burning of five Rohingya villages in arson attacks.

Saw Nyein, a parliamentarian from the Rakhine Nationalities Development Party, said the situation in Kyauktaw township is calm but tense.

Kyaw Khaing, a resident of Kyauktaw township, said many in the area are concerned that more attacks are imminent.

“The town even during daylight hours is silent now," said Khaing. "We are all on alert because we fear more violence.”

Local sources said security forces have been increased in the area following rumors of bomb attacks in Maungdaw township, where the first clashes between Rakhine and Rohingya communities erupted in early June.

The government response to the violence has drawn criticism from local and international rights groups who have asked for an independent delegation to investigate the situation.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the UN special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, called for a full investigation of the violence following a six-day visit to the country, which included parts of Rakhine state.

“It is of fundamental importance to clearly establish what has happened in Rakhine state and to ensure accountability," he said. "Reconciliation will not be possible without this and exaggerations and distortions will fill the vacuum to further fuel distrust and tensions between communities."

Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, was due to arrive in Myanmar today as part of a delegation to deliver aid to both Rakhine and Rohingya communities affected by the violence.

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