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Myanmar rioters attack Muslims and burn homes

October 1, 2013

One woman killed and about 70 houses set on fire in trouble near coastal town of Thandwe, according to police.
President Sein plans to visit camps for internally displaced persons during his two-day visit to Rakhine state [EPA]
Hundreds of Buddhists have rioted in western Myanmar, killing a 94-year-old Muslim woman and setting more than 70 homes ablaze, police say. 

Kyaw Naing, a police officer, told the AP news agency that the clashes broke out on Tuesday in Thabyachaing village, about 20km north of the coastal town of Thandwe in Rakhine state. 

He says the 94-year-old woman died of stab wounds and between 70 and 80 houses were set on fire. Muslim residents said others were injured in the riot, but could not provide details. 

Myanmar’s president, Thein Sein, has travelled to the western state of Rakhine on Tuesday in his first visit since sectarian violence broke out more than a year ago. 

He arrived in the state capital of Sittwe and was scheduled to travel to several more towns in the area, including aungdaw to the north and Thandwe to the south 

Sectarian clashes that began in Rakhine state in June 2012 have since morphed into an anti-Muslim campaign that has spread to towns and villages nationwide. 

So far, hundreds of people have been killed and more than 140,000 have fled their homes, the vast majority of them Muslims. 

Thein Sein, who has been praised for making moves to transition from half a century of military rule, has also been criticised for failing to contain the unrest and protect the country’s embattled Muslim minority.