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Thein Sein in TV address asks for calm

Burmese President Thein Sein told the nation on Sunday if sectarian and racial violence spreads across the nation it could threaten the country’s democratic progress and called on all parties to help in restoring peace and the rule of law.

Burmese President Thein Sein spoke to the nation on MRTV on Sunday about the unrest in Rakhine State. Photo: president websiteIt declared a state of emergency, giving the government extra powers to act. Six areas have been placed under curfew since Friday night after many residential houses, and shops of local ethnic Rakhinese, especially those in Maungtaw, were set fire or destroyed, along with deaths and looting.

Since violence broke out between the largely Buddhist population and Muslims in Rakhine State last week, at least 17 people have died, scores of people were injured and hundreds of home have been burned by mobs.

In the violence, one Muslim mosque was destroyed.

The six areas under the curfew are Maungtaw, Buthidaung, Sittway, Thandwe, Kyaukphyu and Ramree.

A gathering of more than five people is banned, taking effect from 6 p.m. (local time) to 6 a.m.

Thein Sein asked the government, political parties, religious organizations, community-based organizations as well as the media to cooperate in establishing calm in western Rakhine State.

In his address to the nation in a live broadcast on state-run television, Thein Sein said the deaths and criminal acts would be dealt with by law. A curfew had already been established in the area.

He said the bloody incidents originated from racial tensions and revenge in the rape and murder of a girl last week. Authorities said the murder was believed to have been committed by Muslims.

Authorities said that since violence sparked on Friday about noon in Maungtaw, eight people were killed and 23 others injured with 508 residential houses, one guesthouse and 19 shops from at least eight villages burned or destroyed, according to latest official report.
Last Updated ( Monday, 11 June 2012 13:57 )  

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