YANGON - At least nine people were killed by ethnic Rakhine residents in western Myanmar on Sunday, an official said, in an apparent sectarian attack in a region affected by simmering religious tensions. “We heard nine people were killed by ethnic Rakhine residents in Taunggote town this evening. We do not know the details yet,” a government official told AFP, adding that some of the victims were thought to be Muslims visiting Rakhine State from central Myanmar. Local residents, speaking to AFP by phone, said the recent rape and murder of an ethnic Rakhine girl had stirred sectarian suspicions in the area.
AFP was unable to reach local police to confirm details of that case.
One man from the village where the attack took place said a mob of ethnic Rakhines — who are mostly Buddhist — set upon a bus that they believed was carrying those responsible for the murder-rape.
“More than a hundred people beat and killed those people. The residents even torched the bus,” he said, adding that the police arrived but were unable to control the baying crowd.