Over 300 Muslims killed in recent attacks in Myanmar: Muslim leader

Over 300 Muslims have been killed in recent attacks by Buddhist extremists in Myanmar as a new wave of ethnic and sectarian violence has targeted Rohingya Muslims in the country, Press TV reports.

A Muslim community leader told Press TV on Tuesday that at least 50,000 Rohingyas have been displaced in the fresh round of violence in the country’s western regions.

Authorities said on Monday that 88 people were killed this month.

“Altogether 49 men and 39 women have been killed,” a government official — who did not want to be named — told AFP, bringing the total death toll since June to about 180.

“About 300 houses were burnt down in Pauktaw town on Sunday but there were no casualties in that incident,” the official added.

However, rights groups fear that the actual death toll could be much higher.

Earlier on Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said that there is a shortage of food, water and medical help at the already overcrowded camps in western Myanmar.

“It is clearly urgent that law and order be restored to prevent further violence, and that access is facilitated so that aid can be provided to those in need,” the agency said in a statement.

The statement also said that over 28,000 people have been forced to escape from their homes this month as a result of escalating sectarian violence in the country.

Thousands of mainly Muslim Rohingyas in Rakhine state have sought shelter in the UN camps already struggling to cope with the 75,000 people displaced by earlier violence sparked in June.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have issued separate statements, calling for Myanmar to take action to protect the Rohingya Muslim population against extremist Buddhists.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has called on the international community to step in and ease the suffering of Rohingya Muslims in the country.

Myanmar’s government has already been under fire for not doing enough to contain the deadly unrest.

The government in Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas as citizens and holds that the only solution to the crisis is to send the one-million-strong community to other countries willing to take them.

Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

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