Myanmar probes into Muslim deaths

Myanmar probes into Muslim deaths amid tensions with Buddhists

(Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi talks to Myanmar Muslims leaders at the National League for Democracy head office in Yangon June 6, 2012. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun)

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 on Thursday after a protest by Burmese Muslims in the biggest city, Yangon and anger on social media about the brutal killings and the media’s reporting of the incident.

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