Fear stalks Muslims in Myanmar
Eyewitnesses to a massacre at an Islamic school say it was carried out by Buddhists, and many contend it stems from a coordinated effort with ties to the top
Mon Hnin, a 29-year-old Muslim woman from Meiktila, in central Myanmar, spent the night of March 20 with her daughter and mother-in-law hiding in terror in the bushes on the fringes of her neighbourhood.
A wave of murderous anti-Muslim riots led by Buddhist extremists had exploded earlier that day in the dusty town with a population of 100,000 people, located 130km north of the capital, Nay Pyi Taw. Like the houses of many other Muslims in the town, the one belonging to Mon Hnin, whose name has been changed for security reasons, had been destroyed by a Buddhist mob in the Mingalar Zay Yone quarter and she and her relatives had to take refuge in the first place they could find.
The next day, she witnessed something far worse than the destruction of her property, as she told Spectrum at a non-governmental refugee camp near Meitktila where she now lives with about 3,400 other Muslim refugees. The bushes where Mon Hnin, her daughter and her mother-in law had hidden the previous night are not far from a local madrasa _ an Islamic school _ where one of the worst episodes of the violence took place. According to several eyewitnesses, that morning a Buddhist mob attacked the school killing at least 30 students and four teachers.
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