Top of the Morning: Sectarian Strife in Myanmar; Another Nigeria Church Bombing

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

Sectarian Violence in Myanmar Sparks State of Emergency Declaration

Just as things start headed the right way for Myanmar old tensions flare up into conflict. 17 people have been killed in sectarian attacks between Buddhists and Muslims, and the UN is pulling their staff from the region. The government has declared a state of emergency.”Violence in the western coastal area of Myanmar, which borders Bangladesh, erupted after the police detained three Muslim men in relation to the rape and killing of a Buddhist woman late last month. Anger over the case fueled an attack by about 300 local people on a bus in the Taungup area of Rakhine that killed 10 Muslim passengers on June 3, according to the New Light of Myanmar. Clashes have multiplied since then, alarming the authorities. Rakhine is home to the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority who say they have been persecuted by Myanmar’s ruling military junta and have long sought refuge in other places.” (CNN

Boko Haram Church Attack in Nigeria

In yet another strike against Christian targets in Northern Nigeria, a suicide bomber blew himself up at a church service in the town of Jos–a frequent site of sectarian violence.  This statement from Boko Haram suggests that there will be no let up in the violence anytime soon. “A purported spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks and threatened further violence. ‘We are responsible for the suicide attack on a church in Jos and also another attack on another church in Biu’” the spokesman calling himself Abul Qaqa told reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri in a phone conference. ‘We launched these attacks to prove the Nigerian security wrong and to debunk their claim that we have been weakened by the military crackdown,’ he said, speaking in the Hausa language common throughout Nigeria’s north. ‘The Nigerian state and Christians are our enemies and we will be launching attacks on the Nigerian state and its security apparatus as well as churches until we achieve our goal of establishing an Islamic state in place of the secular state.’” (AFP