World News – At least 88 people have been killed in sectarian bloodshed in Myanmar this month, the authorities said Monday, with more than 26,000 others forced to flee a wave of rioting and arson.
Hundreds more homes were burned down over the weekend as security forces struggled to quell clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in the western state of Rakhine that have seen whole neighbourhoods razed. Four more deaths were reported, although they were believed to be from earlier clashes. “Altogether 49 men and 39 women have been killed,” a government official told AFP, bringing the total death toll since June to about 180.
Rights groups fear the actual number killed could be much higher. “About 300 houses were burnt down in Pauktaw town on Sunday but there were no casualties in that incident,” said the official, who did not want to be named.
Decades-old animosity between Buddhists and minority Rohingya Muslims exploded in June after the apparent rape and murder of an ethnic Rakhine woman sparked a series of vicious revenge attacks.
Myanmar’s 800,000 stateless Rohingya are viewed by the United Nations as among the most persecuted minorities on the planet. Agencies