Sectarian clashes have erupted in Myanmar in the western state of Rakhine, which has a sizeable Rohingya Muslim minority and Buddhist majority. The violence erupted a week ago after the rape and murder of a Buddhist woman that was blamed on Muslims. Reprisal attacks left 10 Muslims dead and a total of 25 people have lost their lives so far.
Myanmar’s President Thein Sein stated that the violence could harm the process of democratic reforms. Some 300 Rohingya, mainly women and children, have attempted fleeing to Bangladesh using boats. However, the Border Guards of Bangladesh prevented them from doing so.
Rohingya Muslims have been denied recognition as one of Myanmar’s ethnic minority and are considered foreigners and illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
According to the UN estimates, there are 800,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine state. On the other hand, Bangladeshi official’s claims there are about 300,000 Rohingya in their country.
Myanmar is quickly emerging as another host spot where the shifts in the balance of power between the West, China and India are playing out.