Myanmar to probe Muslim deaths

Myanmar Muslim men hold up pictures of the recent sectarian attacks which took place in the western Rakhine state during a protest in Yangon on June 5. 2012.

Yangon - Myanmar's government has appointed a minister and senior police chief to head an investigation into the killing of 10 Muslims by a Buddhist mob that has stoked communal tensions in the country's Westernmost State.

The government has been quick to respond to Sunday's killings by a group of vigilantes who were angered by reports of a recent gang rape and murder of a local woman, allegedly by Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Rakhine State.

The new reformist, civilian-led administration says national reconciliation and unity is one of its top priorities and its success in striking ceasefires with all but one of the country's ethnic minority rebel groups may have played a part in the recent suspension of most Western sanctions.

It took the unusual step of announcing the probe on the front pages of several State-controlled newspapers yesterday after a protest here and anger on social media about the brutal killings and the media's reporting of the incident.

The 16-member committee, headed by the Deputy Interior Minister and second-in-command of the police, was given until June 30 to determine the "cause and instigation of the incident" and pursue legal action.

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