Hundreds of Muslims in Myanmar become homeless after Buddhists burnt their homes and shops in Sagaing region of the violence-wracked country.
Local officials say more than 300 people are currently sheltering at a school after Buddhist mobs torched their homes two days ago.
On Saturday, around a thousand anti-Muslim rioters rampaged through villages in the northwestern town of Kanbalu in the central region of Sagaing. The mobs set fire to Muslims’ properties and attacked rescue vehicles.
Sources say dozens of houses and shops were left in charred ruins.
“The fires burned until last night, but they have now been extinguished after it rained heavily,” said Myint Naing, a local MP for the opposition National League for Democracy party.
This is the fourth anti-Muslim riot to break out in central and northern Myanmar this year.
Similar violence in the Western Rakhine state last year left nearly 200 people dead; most of them were Rohingya Muslims.
Meanwhile, the government has recently relocated hundreds of Muslims living in Rakhine to a camp for internally displaced people. They were moved from Aung Mingalar quarter in Sittwe to a camp outside the township.
The government says the relocation was voluntary, but activists say many of the families are unhappy about leaving, fearing their conditions would go from bad to worse.
A large number of Muslims have been living in Aung Mingalar quarter after their homes were torched by Buddhist mobs last year.
Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by extremists.
International bodies and human rights organizations accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the violence.
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country’s independence in 1948.
Myanmar’s government has been repeatedly criticized for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims.