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Tensions high after Buddhist mob attacks village mosque

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YANGON — Scores of police have been deployed to guard a village in central Myanmar where religious tensions are running high after a Buddhist mob destroyed a mosque, authorities said Saturday.

An angry mob of around 200 Buddhists rampaged through a Muslim area of a village in Bago province following an argument between neighbours over the building of a Muslim school.

It is the latest flare-up of anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar, which has seen sporadic bouts of religious bloodshed since 2012, with a surge of Buddhist nationalism presenting a key challenge for Aung San Suu Kyi’s new government.

Own Lwin, the local police chief, said the atmosphere remained tense with around 100 police officers deployed to keep the peace.

He said there had been rumours that there might be more unrest, adding that no arrests have been made over the destruction of the mosque.

Win Shwe, the mosque’s secretary, said Muslim residents feared for their safety and were planning to move to a nearby town until the tension cools.

“Our situation is not safe and now we are planning to leave the village … We still feel afraid,” he said.

Strident anti-Muslim sentiment has fomented across Myanmar in recent years, with outbreaks of violence threatening to unravel democratic gains since the former junta stepped down in 2011.

The worst religious violence struck central Myanmar and western Rakhine State, which is home to the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, tens of thousands of whom still languish in displacement camps after rioting.

Hardline monks and Buddhist nationalists fiercely oppose moves to recognise the Rohingya as an official minority and insist on calling them “Bengalis” — shorthand for illegal migrants from the border with Bangladesh.

Ms Suu Kyi, a vocal champion for human rights, has been criticised for not taking a stronger stance on the Rohingya or the abuse they face.

This month the UN warned violations against the group could amount to “crimes against humanity”.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, now leading Myanmar’s first civilian government in decades, asked for “space” while her administration sought to build trust between religious communities.

AFP

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PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team

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KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.

PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.

Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.

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