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May 30, 2013
Fearful Myanmar Muslims shelter in monastery

LASHIO, Myanmar (AP) -- More than 1,000 Muslims who fled Myanmar's latest bout of sectarian violence huddled Thursday in a Buddhist monastery guarded by army soldiers as calm returned to this northeastern city, though burned out buildings leveled by Buddhist rioters still smoldered.

The army transported terrified Muslim families by the truckload out of a neighborhood in Lashio where overturned cars and motorcycles that had been charred a day earlier left black scars on the red earth.

"We heard things could get worse, so we waved down soldiers and asked them for help," said 59-year-old Khin Than, who arrived at the monastery Thursday morning with her four children and sacks of luggage along with several hundred other Muslims. "We left because we're afraid of being attacked."

The violence in Lashio this week highlights how anti-Muslim unrest has slowly spread across Myanmar since starting last year in western Rakhine state and hitting the central city of Meikhtila in March. President Thein Sein's government, which inherited power from the military two years ago, has been heavily criticized for failing to contain the violence.

(19 images)




Muslims eat a meal at a Buddhist temple following sectarian violence in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A Muslim family arrives at a Buddhist temple following sectarian violence in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Aye Aye Win, a Buddhist woman who was set on fire by a Muslim man on Tuesday instigating sectarian violence lies on a hospital bed with burn injures in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Vehicles vandalized during earlier sectarian violence are seen on a road in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. Many Buddhists and Muslims stayed locked inside their homes and shops were shuttered after two-days of violence in Lashio town, near the border with China, the latest region to fall prey to the country's spreading sectarian violence.- AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A man covers his face as he stands next to a vehicle vandalized during earlier sectarian violence in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. - AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A police officer, left, gestures to a man on a motorbike as an army officer watches at a roadside barrier in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. - AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Army officers remove their footwear before entering a Buddhist temple, in which Muslim people took refuge following sectarian violence in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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An army officer walks with brooms in front of a burned building that housed an orphanage for Muslim children in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Army officers salute to one another near debris of burned buildings in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A fireman salvages goods from a basement electronic shop of a burned building that housed a Muslim orphanage on the upper floors in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Residents walk past smoking debris of a charred building in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A man rides a motorcycle near a burned building that housed an orphanage for Muslim children in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A fireman moves debris of a burned building that housed a Muslim orphanage in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Thursday, May 30, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Army officers stand guard outside a burned mosque in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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A vandalized mosque is seen in the background of a burned shop in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Buddhists on a motorcycle armed with sticks patrol in the streets as armed army officers watch in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Buddhists armed with sticks walk in the streets of in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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Hundreds of Buddhists on motorcycles armed with sticks patrol in the streets of in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe
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In this photo released by Daily Eleven Media, people watch a burning mosque in Lashio, northern Shan State, Myanmar, Tuesday, May 28, 2013. AP

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