Myanmar: 90,000 Displaced in Sectarian Clashes

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Myanmar: 90,000 Displaced in Sectarian Clashes
By: Daily News
20 June 2012

The World Food Program has said that approximately 90,000 people have been displaced due to recent sectarian clashes in Rakhine State. Nearly 50 people have died due to the violence and thousands are left homeless.

Sectarian clashes in Rakhine State, western Myanmar, have displaced tens of thousands more than previously estimated, the World Food Program (WFP) said Wednesday.

At this stage, WFP estimates there are about 90,000 displaced people in need of assistance as a result of the recent clashes, the UN agency said in a statement.

Clashes between Muslims of the ethnic Rohingya community and Rahkine Buddhists have left at least 50 people dead and thousands homeless this month across the State, which borders Bangladesh.

Earlier UN estimates put the number of displaced at around 30,000.

The WFP claimed to have reached some 66,000 displaced people with emergency food supplies this week in violence-hit communities including state capital Sittwe and several townships.

The emergency relief organization on Tuesday appealed for donations towards a three-month food assistance program in the area.

The violence was sparked by the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman on May 28. Three Rohingya men were arrested for the crime.

One allegedly committed suicide in his cell on June 10, the same day emergency law was imposed on the state, and the other two were sentenced to death by a provincial court on Monday.

On June 3, a mob of Buddhists killed 10 Rohingya Muslims, prompting a revenge attack by Rohingyas on Buddhists on June 8 in Maung Taw, where seven people died.

At least 50 have died this month in the tit-for-tat attacks and 51 were injured, according to state media reports. The actual death toll could be much higher.

The Rohingya are a stateless people who have been living in the Rakhine area for generations. Their right to citizenship was annulled in 1982 by legislation that excluded them from Myanmar`s official list of ethnic minority groups.

The government views the Rohingyas as immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

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