40 dead from Myanmar religious riots

Soldiers have pulled more bodies from the wreckage of a riot-hit city in central Myanmar, bringing the death toll from recent sectarian violence to 40, while at least one additional flare-up of violence was reported Tuesday closer to the country’s main city of Yangon.

By (AP)

Published: Tue 26 Mar 2013, 7:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:12 PM

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Tuesday that eight more bodies were found in Meikhtila as soldiers continued to clear devastated areas set ablaze by anti-Muslim mobs during three days of rioting last week. State TV said Tuesday that although calm had been restored in Meikhtila, a 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew has been imposed to prevent any fresh violence.

While Meikhtila appeared calm, state television broadcast news of a previously unreported incident at Othegone village in Otepho township about 145 kilometers (90 miles) north of Yangon. It said a group of people threw stones at a mosque and some shops on Sunday night, and added that police arrested five people believed to have incited the violence.

It was unclear if the incident was separate from a similar one reported by one official to have taken place Monday night in the village of Gyobingauk, 16 kilometers (10 miles) further north along the same highway.

Amid fears of spreading violence, shop owners in the largest city, Yangon — about 550 kilometers (340 miles) south of Meikhtila — were told to close Monday evening by 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m.

The fears appeared unfounded but most Yangon shops remained closed Tuesday due to a national holiday.

The upsurge in sectarian unrest casts a shadow over President Thein Sein’s administration as it struggles to make democratic changes after a half-century of military rule.

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