Fragile calm in Rakhine after homes set ablaze
A tense calm returned to Myanmar's western state of Rakhine yesterday after rioters set four houses ablaze, the latest violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims, officials said.
The alleged rape of an 18-year-old woman by a motorcycle taxi driver in the coastal town of Thandwe triggered Sunday's flare-up, said Nay Lin, a police officer. Two suspects have been arrested, he added, and they were of a "different religion" from the victim.
Since emerging from a half-century of military rule in 2011, the nation has been grappling with violence targeting its minority Muslim community.
Nearly 250 people have been killed and 140,000 forced to flee their homes.
Rakhine, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, has been hardest hit.
Sources said on condition of anonymity that the alleged rape victim was Buddhist and her two attackers Muslim.
The violence started late on Sunday when an angry crowd gathered at the Thandwe police station went on a rampage after being told to disperse, Ye Htut, the deputy minister of information, posted on his Facebook page.
Tin Win, a resident and retired education officer contacted by phone, said the flames and smoke were visible from his window.
He was told the four torched homes belonged to Muslims.