News Column

Burma Buddhist, Muslim Clash Kills 8 in Indonesia

April 5, 2013

A fight in an immigration detention centre in Indonesia between Buddhists and Muslims from Myanmar on Friday left eight dead, an official said.

The clash erupted after Muslims from Myanmar's Rohingya ethnic group confronted Buddhist Myanmarese, detained for illegal fishing about sectarian violence back home, said Yusup Umardani, the head of the centre in Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province.

"All of those killed were the fishermen," he said.

"There were no problems before, but apparently there were provocateurs," he added.

Some Rohingya asylum seekers had earlier passed around photos of fellow Muslims killed by Buddhists in recent clashes in Myanmar, he said.

There were 104 Rohingya refugees seeking asylum and 11 Myanmarese fishermen at the centre, Umardani said.

An erlier Metro TV report quoted Umarhadi as saying the brawl broke out when one of the fishermen stabbed a Rohingya following a verbal dispute.

At least 21 people were being questioned by police, he said.

In Myanmar, clashes between Buddhist and Muslim communities have claimed more than 200 lives since last year.

On March 20, 43 people were killed and 86 injured in the centre of the country, around 120 kilometres south of Mandalay, in rioting that was sparked by an argument in a gold shop.

In May, clashes between Buddhists and Muslims of the Rohingya ethnic minority in the western state of Rakhine left at least 167 people dead and an estimated 125,000 homeless.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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