Fresh clashes between Muslims and Buddhists broke out in volatile western Myanmar, leaving at least three people dead and hundreds of homes burned to the ground, authorities said on Tuesday.
The unrest, which erupted on Sunday at night, is one of the worst reported between Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists since skirmishes swept the region in June, leaving around 70,000 people displaced.
Rakhine State Attorney-General Hla Thein said the latest violence took place in Minbyar Township, about 25 km north of the coastal State capital, Sittwe. It later spread farther north to Mrauk-U Township. Both areas are remote, reachable only by foot, Mr. Hla Thein said.
Monday’s riots took the lives of one Buddhist man and two Muslim women, he said. More than 340 homes were also destroyed.
Authorities imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the townships on Monday and both areas were calm on Tuesday, Mr. Hla Thein said.
The unrest comes four months after the two communities turned on one another across Rakhine state in June.The June violence left at least 90 people dead and more than 3,000 homes destroyed, along with dozens of mosques and monasteries. The two communities are almost now completely segregated in towns like Sittwe, where the Rakhines are able to roam freely while the Rohingyas live mostly confined to a series of displaced camps outside the city centre.
The crisis in Myanmar’s west goes back decades and is rooted in a dispute over where the region’s Muslims are really from. Though many Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for generations, they are denigrated here as foreigners who came from Bangladesh.