Four Muslim organizations in Myanmar have urged the government to protect Muslims following the recent rise in sectarian violence in the Southeast Asian country.
“We demand that the government ensures the rule of law in order to protect us,” the groups said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
Muslims feel “great sorrow after being attacked and we are now living in a high state of fear,” the statement added.
The call came as the Buddhists mobs began a fresh round of arson attacks against Muslims in western Rakhine State.
Local police said on Wednesday that at least five Muslims, four men and a woman, were killed in Thabyuchaing village as hundreds of Buddhists went on a rampage.
A similar attack in the Thandwe area of Rakhine on Tuesday left an elderly woman dead, after over 700 Buddhists took to the streets. More than six dozen homes were also reportedly set ablaze.
The incidents also came as Myanmar’s President Thein Sein paid a rare visit to the troubled Rakhine.
About 140,000 people, mainly Rohingya Muslims, have been displaced in the western state of Rakhine. More than 250 people were killed in several outbreaks of violence across Myanmar since June 2012.
International bodies and human rights organizations accuse the government of turning a blind eye to the violence.
Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar account for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60 million. They have been persecuted and faced torture, neglect, and repression since the country's independence in 1948.
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