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Mosques destroyed in Myanmar unrest

Mosques destroyed in Myanmar unrest
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Yangon (AFP): Two people died and several mosques were destroyed in central Myanmar in the worst riots since Buddhist-Muslim clashes rocked western...

mosqueYangon (AFP): Two people died and several mosques were destroyed in central Myanmar in the worst riots since Buddhist-Muslim clashes rocked western Rakhine State last year, said police on Thursday. Around 200 people fought in the streets after an argument in a Muslim-owned gold shop turned violent in the town of Meiktila yesterday, according to a post on Myanmar Police Force's Facebook page. The dead, who included a Buddhist monk, died after suffering severe burns, it said. Police imposed a curfew overnight to control the situation after mobs set several mosques on fire. "About three mosques were destroyed," a local police officer told AFP by telephone, but added that calm had since been restored. "People are starting their normal day this morning," he said. The unrest comes amid heightened tensions between Muslims and Buddhists in Myanmar, where communal conflict in Rakhine has left at least 180 people dead and more than 110,000 displaced since June 2012. An initial report on the police Facebook page late yesterday said anger spread after one man was injured during the row in the gold shop. The report said a mob then descended on the area and destroyed some buildings. It said six people were hospitalised and the Buddhist monk and a Muslim man later died from their injuries. A subsequent police report omitted the religion of the second man. Myanmar's Muslims- largely of Indian, Chinese and Bangladeshi descent- account for an estimated four percent of the roughly 60 million population. Muslims entered Myanmar en masse for the first time as indentured labourers from the Indian subcontinent during British colonial rule, which ended in 1948. But despite their long history, they have never fully been integrated into the country.
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