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Myanmar violence forces more Rohingya Muslims to flee homes

Muslims in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine have been forced to flee to emergency camps, as extremist Buddhists step up attacks on the Rohingya Muslims.

Government officials said hundreds of homes have been torched in the latest round of violence in Rakhine, where clashes broke out between Buddhists and Rohingyas.

Rakhine state spokesman Myo Thant said at least five Muslims have been killed and about 80 others wounded in four communities since October 21.

Tensions have heightened across Rakhine, and the Myanmar government has imposed a curfew in several areas.

According to figures by the United Nations Refugee Agency, over 1,000 displaced Rohingyas have arrived in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe over the past few days.

“Many more are supposed to be on their way. These people are all coming to the IDP (internally displaced person) camps close to Sittwe, which are already overcrowded,” said UN Refugee Agency spokesperson Vivian Tan.

Myanmar army forces allegedly provided the Buddhists with containers of petrol to set ablaze the houses of Muslim villagers and force them out of their houses.

The silence of human rights organizations toward the abuses against Rohingyas has emboldened the extremist Buddhists and Myanmar’s government forces.

The Buddhist-majority government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas and has classified them as illegal migrants, even though the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origins, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

Reports say some 650 Rohingyas have been killed in Rakhine over the past few months. About 1,200 others are also missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.

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