Mob torches Hpakant mosque as religious tensions spike

YANGON — A mob wielding weapons razed a Muslim prayer hall in the Kachin State jade-mining hub of Hpakant, state media reported Saturday, the second attack on a mosque in just over a week.

Myanmar has struggled to contain bouts of deadly religious bloodshed in recent years, with bristling sectarian tensions and Buddhist nationalism posing a steep challenge to the new government led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Friday villagers in Hpakant ransacked a mosque “wielding sticks, knives and other weapons” before burning it down, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.

“The mob was unresponsive and entirely beyond control. The building was razed by the riotous crowd,” the paper reported, adding that the rampage was sparked by a dispute over the mosque’s construction.

No arrests have been made, it said.

Support more independent journalism like this. Sign up to be a Frontier member.

The riot coincided with the end of a 12-day visit by a United Nations rights investigator who warned that “tensions along religious lines remain pervasive across Myanmar society”.

In a press conference concluding her trip Friday, Yanghee Lee called on authorities to investigate the destruction of another mosque in central Bago late last month.

“The government must demonstrate that instigating and committing violence against an ethnic or religious minority community has no place in Myanmar,” she said.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

More stories

Latest Issue

Stories in this issue
Myanmar enters 2021 with more friends than foes
The early delivery of vaccines is one of the many boons of the country’s geopolitics, but to really take advantage, Myanmar must bury the legacy of its isolationist past.
Will the Kayin BGF go quietly?
The Kayin State Border Guard Force has come under intense pressure from the Tatmadaw over its extensive, controversial business interests and there’s concern the ultimatum could trigger fresh hostilities in one of the country’s most war-torn areas.

Stay on top of Myanmar current affairs with our Daily Briefing and Media Monitor newsletters

Our fortnightly magazine is available in print, digital, or a combination beginning at $80 a year

Sign up for our Frontier Fridays newsletter. It’s a free weekly round-up featuring the most important events shaping Myanmar