A state of emergency imposed Friday on a town in central Myanmar continued to be in place Monday, as the sectarian clashes between Buddhists and the Muslim minority spread to at least two other towns in the country’s heartland over the weekend.
Four houses and a mosque in Tatkon township, on the northern edges of administrative capital Naypyidaw were set ablaze late Sunday, Reuters news agency reported.
Riots erupted Wednesday in Meiktila, 540 km (336 miles) north of former capital Yangon and 130 km (80 miles) north of Naypyidaw, after an argument between a Buddhist couple and the Muslim owners of a gold shop escalated into a riot involving hundreds of people, Reuters reported.
A curfew was imposed the same day after violent clashes killed 10 people, including a Buddhist monk.
Saturday night, a group of Buddhists torched 65 houses and religious buildings in Yemethin township, located south of Meiktila and not under a state of emergency, Lt. Col. Aung Min, a spokesman for the Myanmar Police Force told CNN.
The attacks over the weekend caused property damage, but did not result in any deaths, Aung Min said.
Violence in Meiktila has killed at least 32 people so far, according to the New Light of Myanmar, a state-run newspaper.
Police confiscated weapons from groups of Buddhists who were roaming the streets, CNN reported citing officials.
Tensions have been simmering in Myanmar between Buddhists and Muslims since the outbreak of communal violence in June last year in western Rakhine state.
The violence, which killed at least 78 people and damaged thousands of homes belonging to both communities, subsided two weeks after the government declared a state of emergency June 10.
In October, another wave of violence broke out in two districts in western Myanmar, leaving three people dead and destroying more than 400 houses, a monastery and a mosque.