London, Oct 29: Over 22,000 people from mainly Muslim communities have been forced to flee their homes in western Burma amid a fresh wave of sectarian violence, the United Nations has said.
Whole neighbourhoods were razed in last week’s clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine state.
The United Nations chief in Yangon, Ashok Nigam, said government estimates showed that 22,587 people had been displaced and 4,665 houses set ablaze in the latest bloodshed, the Telegraph reports.
“These are people whose houses have been burnt, they are still in the same locality,” he said indicating that thousands more who had fled in boats towards the state capital Sittwe may not be included in that estimate.
“It is mainly the Muslims who have been displaced,” he said, adding that 21,700 of those made homeless were Muslims.
According to the paper, festering animosity between Buddhists and Muslims have continued to simmer in Rakhine since June.
It is seen as presenting a serious challenge to Burma’s new quasi-civilian government, which has ushered in a series of reforms since replacing a feared junta last year, the report said. (ANI)