Burmese Muslims protest mob killings

Burmese Muslims are protesting a mob killing in western Burma. [Reuters]
PHOTO

Burmese Muslims are protesting a mob killing in western Burma. [Reuters]

Last Updated: Wed, 6 Jun 2012 08:54:00 +1000

Dozens of protesters rallied in Yangon on Tuesday calling for justice for 10 fellow Muslims killed by an angry mob in a surge in sectarian tensions in western Burma.

About 50 people gathered in front of a mosque in the centre of the city, some holding photographs of those who died Sunday in the frenzied attack in Rakhine state, in the Bay of Bengal.

"They were innocent. That's why I'm asking the authorities for justice," Muslim woman Khin Hinn Hla said.

The victims' bus was surrounded by a crowd of hundreds of people enraged at the May 28 rape and murder of a Rakhine woman, allegedly by three other Muslim men, state media reported Tuesday.

The New Light of Myanmar government mouthpiece said there were rumours local Muslims had been targeting women from the mainly-Buddhist Rakhine community.

Three suspects - described as Bengali Muslims - have been held since May 30 in connection with the woman's murder, it said.

Details of the attack emerged in state media with a report describing a mob gathering after leaflets urged locals to "take notice" of alleged Muslim abuses of Rakhine women.

Alerted to the group of Muslims returning to Yangon from the area some Rakhines followed the bus on motorcycles, the report said, forcing it to turn back to an area where 300 local people were waiting and set upon the victims.

The paper said the murdered Muslims had just visited the area for "religious reasons", adding a probe was underway amid attempts to keep "community peace and stability".

No arrests have been reported in connection with the killings.

Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims occur periodically in Burma, and Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh, is a flashpoint for tensions.

Buddhists make up some 89 percent of the population of Burma, with Muslims officially representing four percent.

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