YANGON — Fresh sectarian violence struck northwestern Myanmar early Sunday when a 1,000-strong Buddhist mob burned down dozens of Muslim homes and shops following rumors that a young woman had been sexually assaulted by a Muslim man, police said. There were no reports of injuries.
A crowd surrounded the police station late Saturday and then went on an hours-long rampage after authorities refused to hand over the assault suspect, a police officer from the area told The Associated Press.
About 35 houses and 12 shops — most belonging to Muslims — were destroyed before calm was restored, he said, asking not to be named because he did not have the authority to speak to reporters.
The radical monk Wirathu, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric has placed him at the center of rising religious violence in the predominantly Buddhist nation, posted news of the riot in the outskirts of the town of Kantbalu on his Facebook page.
Myanmar has been grappling with sectarian violence since the country's military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government in 2011.