October 26, 2012
BANGKOK — The death toll from sectarian clashes in Burma’s coastal Rakhine state has doubled to 112 with over 70 reported injured, including children. The official figures surpass the bloodshed in fighting this summer and were released after President Thein Sein vowed to restore peace between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. But, authorities are struggling to restore order.
The sectarian fighting that erupted this week between Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya is the worst this year in Burma’s western Rakhine state.
The violence broke out Sunday and quickly spread to several districts including Kyaukphyu where a Burma-China pipeline begins. More than 2,000 homes were burned to the ground by rioters.
Hundreds of Rohingya took to boats to escape the violence, the worst since June clashes left 90 dead and tens of thousands homeless.
Win Myaing is the secretary of Rakhine state’s information department.
He says that since Sunday in six townships the death toll is 51 men and 61 women. He says an additional 68 men and four women were injured, including ten children. The casualties, he says, were from both sides.
Information from the remote region has been slow to emerge while rumors circulated that perhaps hundreds were killed.
Burma’s President Thein Sein released a statement carried Friday in the official New Light of Myanmar newspaper.
Thein Sein said the recurring riots have put Burma’s national integrity at stake as it moves toward democratic reform. He also vowed to take effective measures for rule of law and community peace.