YANGON - Police have arrested 44 people in connection with deadly anti-Muslim violence in western Myanmar, state media said Sunday, after the latest violence erupted during a presidential tour of the strife-torn region.
Days of tensions in the town of Thandwe in restive Rakhine State turned into bloodshed on Tuesday, with a mob of hundreds descending on one outlying village torching homes and attacking local Muslims.
Unrest continued on Wednesday despite a visit by President Thein Sein, who stayed overnight in Thandwe as part of his first trip to Rakhine since a wave of religious violence erupted there last year, leaving dozens dead and tens of thousands homeless.
The New Light of Myanmar newspaper said 42 men and two women were being questioned over their suspected involvement in unrest from September 29 to October 1.
"It is learnt that due to riot occurred in Thandwe Township, 114 houses, three religious buildings and one gasoline warehouse were burnt down, leaving 482 people homeless, five people dead and five injured," the English language report said.
It said "relief works" were under way in the area, but gave no further details of the situation for those left homeless.
A police official told AFP that a sixth person had died of a heart attack during Tuesday's bloodshed, which happened near the popular tourist destination of Ngapali Beach.
"The situation is calm at this moment. We are also keeping an eye on it," he said.
A mob of some 800 people was involved in Tuesday's bloodshed, police said, with a 94-year-old woman among those killed.