Myanmar govt warns of 'anarchy' in riot-hit Rakhine

The New Light of Myanmar urged people to exercise "tolerance" in the wake of rioting on Friday and Saturday that saw hundreds of Buddhist villagers' homes set ablaze and left seven dead in Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh.

"Hatred, misunderstanding or any other kind of conflict among the rural people or urbanites serve no one's interest, but invite retaliation, anarchy, stagnation and lawlessness creating an environment where peace is totally absent and where democracy cannot flourish at all," said an editorial.

Police and military units were deployed to bring an end to the unrest, in which 17 people were also wounded and nearly 500 houses destroyed, according to the official media.

A cycle of apparent revenge attacks began with rumours about the recent rape and murder of a Rakhine woman.

Over a week ago, an angry Buddhist mob, mistakenly believing the perpetrators of the rape were on board a bus, beat 10 Muslim passengers to death.

The rioting flared Friday when at least four Buddhists were killed in the area.

A second wave of violence swept through remote villages early Saturday, as more ethnic Rakhine homes were torched forcing villagers to flee to temporary shelters in Maungdaw town, according to government officials.

The New Light warned that "deep mistrust" could serve to turn the region into a "cauldron" of misleading information.

The unrest in Rakhine comes in the wake of a series of tentative cease-fires Myanmar authorities inked with ethnic minority rebels.

Tension remained yesterday, amid reports that the man who allegedly committed the rape that led to the flare-up killed himself in jail on Saturday.

Alleged arsonists reportedly played cat and mouse with security forces in some areas.

A police outpost was surrounded by Bengali Rohingya mobs. Bengalis threw stones from their homes at security forces and Rakhine people on the streets. Police reportedly fired warning shots.

Air Force helicopters landed at Maungdaw Township to carry injured persons to hospital, according to the report of Maungdaw residents.

A rescue camp was opened at the Four-Mile police battalion in Maungdaw Township. About 1,000 refugees flooded into the camp, causing an immediate food supply shortage.

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