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Buddhist, Muslims asylum seekers from Myanmar clash in Indonesia

Indonesian police
officers carry the body of an illegal migrant from after a brawl between
Buddhist and Muslim asylum seekers from Burma. Pic: AP.

India Today
April 5, 2013
Buddhist and Muslim
asylum seekers from Myanmar brawled with rocks and knives on Friday at an
immigration detention center in Indonesia, leaving eight combatants dead and
another 15 injured, police said.
The melee broke out
at the center in North Sumatra province, where more than 100 Rohingya migrants
– most intercepted off Indonesia’s coast in rickety boats – and 11 illegal
fishermen from Myanmar were being held together, said local police chief Endro
Kiswanto.
He said witnesses
told police the clash started after a Muslim Rohingyaconfronted a Buddhist
fisherman about sectarian violence in their homeland. Insults were traded, and
people began fighting with rocks and knives.
Eight Buddhists were
killed, and 15 Rohingya were injured. Three other Buddhists escaped unharmed,
Kiswanto said.
All of the victims
were rushed to a hospital in the provincial capital, Medan, about 23 kilometers
(14 miles) south of Belawan.
“We are still
investigating the incident, including how they got knives,” he said.
“We will expedite their repatriation.”
Sectarian violence
erupted in central Myanmar last month when mobs of armed Buddhists torched
Muslim-owned homes and shops. Dozens were killed and thousands, mostly Muslims,
were forced to flee.
Last year, hundreds
of people were killed and more than 100,000 made homeless in violence in
western Myanmar between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.