The death toll from recent ethnic violence in Burma's western state of Rakhine has surpassed 100, an official said today, as the government warned that the strife risks harming the country's reputation as it seeks to install democratic rule. Rakhine state spokesman Win Myaing said 112 people had been killed in clashes that began Sunday between members of the Buddhist Rakhine and the Muslim Rohingya communities. He said 72 people were reported injured, including 10 children.
The government announced earlier that almost 2,000 homes had been burned down in the conflict. "As the international community is closely watching Myanmar's democratic transition, such unrest could tarnish the image of the country," reads a statement from the office of President Thein Sein published today in the state-run Myanma Ahlin newspaper. Thein Sein took office as an elected president last year, and has instituted economic and political liberalization after almost half a century of repressive military rule.