Buddhist vigilantes kill 9 Muslims in Myanmar violence

June 4, 2012 11:50

YANGON - Buddhist vigilantes in western Myanmar attacked a passenger bus and killed nine Muslims, police said on Monday, the deadliest communal violence in the tense region since a reformist government took power a year ago.

The bus was besieged near Taunggoke town in the western state of Rakhine on Sunday evening by a group who blamed some of its passengers for the murder of a Buddhist woman a week ago, said local residents and politicians. One of those killed was travelling in a separate car.

Rakhine is home to Myanmar's largest concentration of Muslims, but their presence is often resented by the Buddhist majority. The resentment is particularly sharp for Rohingya Muslims, whose roots date back to the 1820s when they were brought to the country as laborers by colonial power Britain.

Ko Kyaw Lay, a local Muslim and a human rights activist who belongs to an opposition party, said none of those killed were Rohingyas.

Police could not immediately confirm all of the details.

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