CHIANG MAI, Thailand – Renewed violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State threatens to spread across the country as rising sentiment against ethnic Rohingyas becomes more generally anti-Muslim. Surging Buddhist versus Muslim violence underscores the urgent need for reforms related to ethnic minorities and the rule of law, issues that were neglected or exploited for political gain during the era of direct military rule.
On October 21, new rounds of violence erupted in Minbya and Mrauk-U townships in Rakhine State. The disturbances quickly spread to Myebon, Rathedaung, Pauktaw, Kyauktaw, Kyaukpyu and Ramree, the first time sectarian violence had hit most of those areas. After a week of mostly Buddhist on Muslim attacks, the unrest was suppressed after security forces were reinforced.
Government reports claimed that 84 people were killed with another 129 hospitalized in the melees. Melees between stick and knife wielding groups of Rakhines and Rohingyas running riot or forcefully…
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