900 Myanmese held as two killed in sectarian clashes in Malaysia

More than 900 detained after two killed in fighting to sectarian unrest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 07 June, 2013, 1:25am


Malaysian police said yesterday they had detained more than 900 Myanmese in a security sweep after at least two were killed last week in clashes believed to be linked to sectarian violence back home.

The two dead were probably Buddhists killed during a spate of violent incidents in Kuala Lumpur since May 30, said Amar Singh Ishar Singh, the Malaysian capital's deputy police chief. He added that two other people were in critical condition and the attacks were "believed to be the result of violence in Myanmar".

"The operation is to send a clear message to stop this nonsense and not bring the violence over to Malaysia," he said.

He gave no details on the attacks but Malaysian media reports - which said as many as four may have died - have suggested Buddhists came under attack from their Muslim countrymen seeking vengeance over violence back in Myanmar.

Deadly sectarian strife pitting Myanmar's majority Buddhists against the Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority has flared since last year in the country's western state of Rakhine.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is home to more than 80,000 Myanmese, many of them Rohingya fleeing alleged persecution by Myanmar's Buddhist authorities and, more recently, the Rakhine violence.

Amar said more than 250 of those detained in Malaysia were handed over to immigration authorities as they lacked proper documentation. The rest were released and no formal arrests have yet been made.

Myanmar on Tuesday called on Malaysia to take action against those responsible for the attacks and protect citizens of Myanmar.