Myanmar town under curfew after 10 killed in violent clashes

Featured South East Asia - March 22nd, 2013

Authorities have put a central Myanmar town under curfew after violent clashes erupted on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people, including a Buddhist monk, and injuring 20 others.

The clashes erupted in Meikhtila after an argument between a Buddhist couple and the Muslim owners of a gold shop escalated into a riot involving hundreds of people, Reuters reports.

The mob set ablaze several shops, an Islamic religious school, and at least one mosque. A government building was also set on fire on Thursday.

Local police struggled to disperse the crowd to no avail. “The police is not strong enough to control the situation,” Win Htein, a member of the opposition National League for Democracy party, told Reuters.

More than 20 people were sent to hospital for treatment to injuries received in the violence while a Buddhist monk and a local driver died in the hospital, a police officer said.

Senior government officials said they were monitoring the situation in Meikhtila while roads leading to major cities in the region have been temporarily closed, Reuters reports.

Tensions have been simmering since hostilities between Buddhists and Muslims broke out in the western state of Rakhine last year, leaving more than 1oo people dead and forcing tens of thousands of people to leave their homes.