YANGON - Hundreds of people made homeless by Myanmar's latest eruption of religious violence were sheltering in a school Monday, a local MP said, after mobs torched the homes and shops of local Muslims.
Around 1,000 anti-Muslim rioters rampaged through villages in Kanbalu, in the central region of Sagaing, on Saturday evening, setting fire to property and attacking rescue vehicles.
Dozens of houses and shops were left in charred ruins.
"The fires burned until last night, but they have now been extinguished after it rained heavily," said Myint Naing a local MP for the opposition National League for Democracy party, adding that the situation was calm.
He said 160 men and 158 women who had lost their homes had taken shelter in a school after unrest which shocked the local community.
"They had been living peacefully for many years and this is the first time they saw violence," he said.
Attacks against Muslims - who make up at least four per cent of the population - have exposed deep rifts in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, overshadowing widely praised political reforms since military rule ended in 2011.
The latest violence is the first anti-Muslim incident reported in the Sagaing region amid signs that the unrest is continuing to widen.