Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

i Gracias, Gabo i

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Socialist rebellion grows

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Can Weibo win over US investors?

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Algeria: What's the Choice? Incumbent Bouteflika Votes in Wheelchair

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Virunga Park chief shot

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algerian election: Bouteflika votes in wheelchair

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Algeria's media: a mixture of censorship and free speech

Read more

  • Captain not at helm when ship listed, South Korean officials say

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez dies at 87

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • Low turnout reported in Algeria as Bouteflika seeks fourth term

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Ukraine talks open in Geneva as Putin talks tough on TV

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Muslim school fire kills at least 13 in Yangon

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2013-04-02

At least 13 students were killed in an accidental fire at a Muslim school in the Burmese city of Yangon on Monday, police said, in the wake of weeks of religious violence. Authorities called for calm amid fears of more Buddhist-Muslim attacks.

A fire killed 13 students at a Muslim school in Myanmar's main city on Tuesday, police said, raising tensions in the wake of sectarian clashes despite police assurances that the blaze was accidental.

The government called for calm and sent security forces to the scene after an angry crowd gathered demanding answers about the deadly fire in Yangon, which follows a wave of Buddhist-Muslim killings and arson in central Myanmar.

"Thirteen people, mostly children, were killed during a fire at a Muslim religious school in downtown Yangon," a police officer at the scene told AFP. "We assume that it was due to an electrical short circuit."

The doors to the building -- which housed a mosque and a religious school where dozens of children were staying in a dormitory -- were apparently locked, according to government spokesman Ye Htut, preventing the students from escaping until emergency services arrived.

Police promised to establish a committee -- including Muslim leaders -- to look into the cause, while the government urged people to avoid spreading rumours.

"Please don't believe some news on the Internet portraying this case as a religious conflict," Ye Htut posted on his Facebook page.

Safety standards are generally poor in impoverished Myanmar, which is emerging from decades of military rule.

Some Muslim leaders, however, voiced suspicions that the fire was started deliberately because students and teachers said they had slipped on an oily liquid on the ground floor while escaping.

"The oil smelled like petrol or diesel," said Shine Win, a Muslim leader, urging the government to "reveal the truth".

One student who escaped told AFP that his legs and clothes were dirty with the oily liquid.

"I slipped when I stepped on something like oil and almost fell down. As the fire was so big at that time, I didn't recognise what it was," he said.

Scorch marks scarred the outside of the building, according to an AFP reporter at the scene, as three military trucks carrying soldiers arrived to keep the peace.

Communal tensions are running high in the former army-ruled country after at least 43 people died last month in a wave of sectarian violence that saw mosques and homes burned down in several towns in central Myanmar.

The government has imposed emergency rule and curfews in some areas.

Yangon has been tense but mostly peaceful following the clashes, which were apparently triggered by an argument in a gold shop in the town of Meiktila that triggered a riot that later spread.

The conflict poses a major challenge for President Thein Sein, who has won international praise for his reform efforts since taking office two years ago.

The situation has calmed in recent days after the former general on Thursday vowed a tough response over the violence, which he blamed on "political opportunists and religious extremists".

Sectarian strife involving Buddhists and Muslims in the western state of Rakhine last year left at least 180 people dead.

(AFP)

 

Date created : 2013-04-02

  • BURMA

    Ban on privately owned daily papers ends in Burma

    Read more

  • Burma

    Sectarian violence rages on in Burma

    Read more

  • BURMA

    Suu Kyi re-elected leader at key opposition congress

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)