Burma: Police Make Arrests After Buddhist-Muslim Clash

Myanmar police detained two suspects on May 15 for their involvement in a confrontation between Buddhists and Muslims last week in a Yangon neighborhood where monks had claimed that ethnic Rohingya Muslims were hiding “illegally.”

Meanwhile, police continue to search for three others believed to be involved in the melee that left two people injured.

Police apprehended Tin Lin Htike and Tin Htay Aung who were involved in the incident in Mingala Taungnyunt township in the east-central part of the city, Radio Free Asia reported.

The pair will be tried along with others arrested last week, including Tin Htut Zaw and Ma Aung, both of whom were apprehended on May 11.

On that day, Myanmar police apprehended and charged two monks and five Buddhist nationalists for their involvement in the confrontation, during which police fired warning shots in the air to disperse a crowd that had gathered after an altercation between monks and Muslim residents.

They face charges that carry a penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine.

Monks from the Patriotic Myanmar Monks Union, also known at Ma Ba Tha, had received information that some Rohingya were hiding in a building in the township, and alerted police and immigration officials who searched the premises on May 9.

Myanmar’s Buddhist majority views the Rohingya, a stateless group of 1.1 million who live mainly in Rakhine State, as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and government policy has denied them citizenship and access to other basic rights for decades.

After a search, police determined that the occupants were there legally and took no further action.

Different witness accounts identified either Muslims who live in the area or a group of nationalist outsiders with weapons for starting the melee as the monks left the building.

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