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Three more die in clashes in Burma’s Rakhine State

Violence erupted again in Burma’s Rakine State in renewed clashes on Sunday that left three people dead, a government official said on Monday, as the UN and international governments called for Burma to conduct an independent investigation into the unrest.

Smoke rises from burned homes in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State in Burma on Monday, June 11, 2012. Security forces tried to restore order after a wave of deadly violence has led to deaths, injuries and the burning of homes and businesses. Photo: AFPOfficial figures say 80 people have now died in the unrest since June.

The dead lived in Kyauktaw about 60 miles north of the state capital Sittwe, an officia who did not want to be namedl told Agency France Presse (AFP). Five people were reported wounded. There were no other details of how the deaths occured. 

"The situation is calm and back to normal already," the official told AFP. “We do not know why it started again.”

A crowd of angry Rakhine set off the unrest in June following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and their subsequent ambush and murder of 10 Rohingya.

The clashes have underscored the deeply divided relationship between Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine natives in the state, where Rohingyas are denied citizenship and basic human rights by the government.

Burma's government has rejected accusations of abuse by security forces in Rakhine. However, UN human rights expert Tomas Ojea Quintana, who ended a six-day mission to Burma on Sunday, has called for an independent investigation into the unrest and the Rohingya status in the country.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Burma's security forces of opening fire on Rohingya, as well as committing rape and standing by as rival mobs attacked each other.

The authorities failed to protect both sides and then “unleashed a campaign of violence and mass roundups against the Rohingya,” the HRW said in a report released last week.

The United Nations said Rohingyas are one of the world's most persecuted minorities.

Speaking a Bengali dialect similar to one in neighbouring Bangladesh, the Rohingya are seen as illegal immigrants by the Burmese government and many Burmese. Many Rohingyas have attempted to flee overseas to escape repression. Burma's President Thein Sein said last month Rohingyas are not Burmese, and he called on the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to provide for their welfare or to resettle them in other countries.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 August 2012 14:10 )  

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