Renewed violence raze dozens of houses in central Myanmar

Featured South East Asia - March 25th, 2013

Fresh unrest in central Myanmar has reduced dozens of houses to ashes, with violence spreading even as authorities try to quell the deadly clashes.

Riots on Saturday night left more than 40 houses and a mosque in ruins in Yamethin township near the capital Naypyidaw, while violence was also reported in three other villages in the area, officials told AFP.

The government announced an army-enforced state of emergency after clashes broke out Wednesday in the town of Meiktila. The death toll rose to 32 as violence swelled into neighboring towns.

More than 50 people were detained in connection with the violence, according to the information ministry.

Reports of renewed clashes came after Vijay Nambiar, a top United Nations envoy, surveyed violence-hit Meikhtila, where he reportedly saw dozens of burned corpses piled in the streets. The unrest has also forced thousands of people, mostly minority Muslims, from their homes.

Nambiar called on Myanmar’s government to punish those responsible for the bloodshed.

“It is important to catch the perpetrators. It is important that they be caught and punished,” Nambiar said.

Buddhist and Muslim leaders on Sunday also spoke out publicly for the first time since violence began, urging respect for the law and maintenance of “community harmony with love and kindness”, AFP reports.