9 injured in Yangon sectarian violence after Muslim bumps into Buddhist

Nine people were injured in sectarian clashes that occurred after a Muslim woman bumped into a Buddhist novice in the town of Oakkan in Yangon region yesterday morning, according to the Yangon Region Police Force.

A mosque was slightly damaged and the stuff in 25 shops in Anawrahta Ward, Oakkan, were thrown away by angry mobs.

Win Win Sein, while going shopping, bumped into the 11-year-old novice from a monastery in Hsinbyushin Ward, dropping his arms bowl, whose cover was broken. Dissatisfied with the accident, a trustee from the monastery opened a case at Taikkyi Police Station to take action against the woman.

At about 1.30pm, a group of 200 Buddhists gathered around the mosque in Anawrahta Ward and about 10 people threw stones at the mosque and fled. Consequently, six window panes of the mosque were broken and two electric meters were destroyed, the police said.

Nearly 25 Buddhists also threw away the things out of 25 shops at 2.30pm. Police from the township police force had to fire warning shots to control the situation. The situation was well under control at 3.10pm, Myanmar Police Force's Ye Zarni website posted.

However, tensions still remained high and some villages in Oakkan township were set on fire. Authorities had to be putting out the fires until 7pm, Eleven Media Group reporter said.

According to Naing Oo, head of Taikkyi Township Fire Service Department, petrol was seized from some Muslim homes.

Regarding the incident, police colonel Zaw Tun Aung from Police Control Department (Region-2) said: "It is best not to make any problems. If one happens, it should be solved within the framework of law."

Police said they are in hot pursuit of those suspected to have been involved in the mobs.

Nine people were injured in the riots and out of them, three with serious injuries were reportedly sent to Yangon General Hospital.

The chief of Yangon Region Police Force told the EMG the situation in downtown Oakkan was under control but they were trying to calm down the situations in the villages.

Section 188 of Penal Code has been imposed there, he added.

State TV also announced at 8pm news hour that Oakkan riots have left 10 people injured and out of them, eight sustained minor injuries. It did not release the situation of two others injured.

A 30-year-old greens vendor, who witnessed the incidents, told the EMG: "I was born in Oakkan. I saw the mobs committing destructions but I don't know most of the people. I think some are town dwellers and the majority are from nearby villages.

A 400-strong police force has been deployed in Oakkan township, said police major Myint Maung from the township police force. The police have started chasing and arresting those all involved, he added.

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