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At least 56 people have been killed and nearly 2,000 homes have been set on fire and destroyed in the latest outbreak of violence in western Myanmar.
Buddhist and Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have been in a constant ethnic clash. This is the latest conflict since June when 90 lives were taken.
“We got the information that three people, an ethic Rakhine man and two Muslim women, were killed at Pandeinkone village during yesterday’s clashes. It’s difficult to control the situation,” said Hla Thein, Rakhine State Chief Justice.
The crisis in Myanmar began decades ago and is rooted in a dispute over where the region’s Muslim population is from. Many Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for generations, they are widely depicted as as intruders who came from Bangladesh to steal land.
The local authorities have imposed a curfew from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Minbya and Mrauk on Monday night in an attempt to limit casualties and bring the fighting to a halt. The government has also declared that they will expose and take action against anyone who is manipulating the conflict.
Tensions are high because the government has failed to find a long-term solution to the crisis other than segregating the two communities.
The U.N. has asked for the region to calm itself after news of the violence early Thursday.
“The U.N. is gravely concerned about reports of a resurgence of inter-communal conflict in several areas in Rakhine State — which has resulted in deaths and has forced thousands of people, including women and children, to flee their homes,” said U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam.
State officials say they have sent medical personnel accompanied by military to two of the townships hit by the attacks to help give treatment to Rohingya people too scared to go to a hospital.