Influential Buddhist and Muslim leaders in Burma have called for an end to the on-going violence in western Burma’s Arakan state.
“If we really want peace, then everyone in the country should hold peaceful discussions and behave peacefully towards one another – please stop killing one another,” said renown Theravada Buddhist monk Pinnyasiha.
“Also, it is not enough for religious leaders to be just expressing their condolences and denouncing the riots, but I would like to request them to visit the areas and assist personally to bring peace.”
Wunna Shwe, an official from the All-Myanmar Islam Association said: “We have been contacting concerned government and religious organisations and are trying our best to bring tranquility to the situation. We will try our best to bring a solution based upon love for this to solve this problem.”
An official from Myanmar Baptist Convention said: “We are praying for [peace] at our religious events – we are praying for peace for all.”
On Wednesday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser to Burma Vijay Nambiar arrived in Arakan state to visit Maungdaw, where the riots kicked off last week.
“We’re here to observe and assess how we can continue to provide support to [Arakan],” Ashok Nigam, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator who was travelling with the group, told the AFP.
According to the Ministry of Information, 21 people have killed and more than 1,600 houses have been destroyed during the rioting; however, observers on the ground suggest that the government’s figures are still modest.