Mandalay (Myanmar) : Myanmar’s second-largest city was put under curfew on Thursday after two people were killed in the latest outbreak of Buddhist-Muslim violence to convulse the former junta-ruled nation, reports AFP.
Dozens of armed police were seen patrolling the tense streets of Mandalay where shops were shuttered after angry mobs rampaged through the normally bustling central metropolis for two consecutive nights.
Two men, one Buddhist and one Muslim, were killed in violence that continued into Thursday morning, police said. It is the latest of several waves of sectarian unrest that have exposed deep religious tensions in the Buddhist-majority nation as it emerges from decades of military rule.
“We do not want the situation getting worse,” senior Mandalay police officer Zaw Min Oo told AFP, explaining that the 9:00 pm to 5:00 am restrictions were for “security reasons”. Inter-communal violence has overshadowed widely praised political reforms since erupting in 2012. It has largely targeted Muslims, leaving at least 250 people dead and tens of thousands homeless.
Buddhist rioters, some armed with sticks and knives, attacked a Muslim teashop on Tuesday and surrounding property in downtown Mandalay after an accusation of rape, according to local police.
Security forces fired rubber bullets in the early hours of Wednesday to try and disperse the crowds.
Unrest then broke out again late hours of Wednesday despite an increase in security, with pockets of violence flaring across the centre of the city of some seven million people. Police said the two men were killed in separate attacks overnight. About 10 other people were injured.