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As many as 362 people have been arrested in Mandalay following communal violence in the city last week. Police said that the majority of arrests have come from breaking a dusk-to-dawn curfew, which is still in place. Sixteen people have been arrested for their part in Tuesday night’s riots; charges include illegal possession of weapons such as clubs and swords.
Two men – one Muslim, one Buddhist – were killed by lynch mobs following the anti-Muslim violence in Burma’s second largest city. Police said they are still investigating the deaths, “but the principal suspects in the deaths were not among those detained and were still being sought”, a police statement said.
On Monday, the Burmese President’s Office issued a statement thanking the residents of Mandalay for their assistance and vigilance during the communal violence.
“Although, we cannot list all the names of the Mandalay residents who informed the authorities in a timely manner on movements during the riots, they are all appreciated for their sense of responsibility and duty,” the statement said. “The effort of Buddhist monks, religious and community leaders, as well as civil society members and responsible youths, who provided assistance to each other, regardless of faith, to prevent misunderstandings at a delicate time, should be seriously thanked.
“We would like to humbly urge everyone to continue to cooperate with the government and the police if similar situations break out in the future to protect the city of Mandalay and maintain its deep-rooted interfaith harmony. “
However, several outstanding questions remainas to the role that local authorities, police officers and Buddhist monks played in last Tuesday’s riots, and rumours are rife that the rioters were well-organised and brought in from out of town.
Meanwhile, on Monday, regional Mandalay MP Tin Tin Mar accused the rioters of being high on drugs.