SITTWE, Myanmar — Myanmar pledged Sunday to hunt down those responsible for the deaths of 50 people in communal clashes, as the relief effort was stepped up for tens of thousands displaced by the violence.
More than 30,000 people – both ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya – have been displaced after homes were set ablaze during riots and revenge attacks in the western state of Rakhine earlier this month, state media says.
The UN warned of the “immense hardship” faced by thousands of families, just as monsoon rains sweep in. Rice, water and shelter is being delivered to the state capital Sittwe, but there are mounting concerns about more remote areas.
Both sides accuse each other of being responsible for the violence, which has torn apart communities that had lived together for many years and overshadowed recent reforms under the quasi-civilian government.
After visiting the area, a senior Myanmar minister vowed the government “would bring about justice and prosecute offenders without bias”, state mouthpiece the New Light of Myanmar reported Sunday.
“Lawlessness is unacceptable,” the paper said, quoting Lt. Gen. Thein Htay, Union Minister for Border Affairs and Myanmar Industrial Development.
“The government will bring offenders to justice and restore stability as soon as possible,” he vowed.
The unrest has prompted President Thein Sein to warn of the danger of disrupting the nation’s fledgling reform process as Myanmar emerges from decades of military rule. – AFP