State of emergency declared in Myanmar town racked by riot

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Mobs in Myanmar stormed Muslim homes and mosques, setting fires and killing residents, in a massive riot that’s steeped in sectarian tensions.

The violence began Wednesday and escalated Thursday, the Associated Press reported. This is just the latest wave of Muslim-Buddhist violence.. President Thein Sein has declared a state of emergency in the town, Meikhtila, where more than 6,000 have been left homeless. That opens the door to the military to take over the community, AP says.

The president has been trying to implement a reformist vision to Myanmar — which includes a more open, democratic government — and uproot the decades-old military rule, AP says.

But this week’s riot sets that effort back a bit.

At least five mosques were destroyed by fire. Twenty, so far, were reported dead, AP says.

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