[A muslim man cries after a group of men destroyed a mosque in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months in the village of Thayethamin outside Yangon, Myanmar, on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)]
Yangon (Myanmar): 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 on Saturday.
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.
The most recent violence erupted this week when an angry mob of around 200 Buddhists rampaged through a Muslim area of a village in Bago province following an argument between neighbors over the building of a Muslim school.
Own Lwin, the local police chief, said the atmosphere remained tense on Saturday with around 100 police officers deployed to keep the peace.
“Last night, 50 police guarded the village to prepare for rumors that there might be more unrest. Now we have arranged a police force of up to 100 officers,” he said, adding that no arrests have been made over the destruction of the mosque.
Win Shwe, the mosque’s secretary, said that Muslim residents fear for their safety and are 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.