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Muslim homes razed in Burma's Rakhine state - report

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims are living in refugee camps outside of Sittwe
The largest Muslim area in the Burmese city of Sittwe was razed to the ground in recent communal violence, a UK broadcaster has reported.

A team from the UK's Channel 4 News gained access to Sittwe, which has been off limits to reporters for months.

They filmed an area once home to 10,000 that had been reduced to rubble.

Days of violence in Rakhine state began in late May when a Buddhist woman was raped and murdered by three Muslims. A mob later killed 10 Muslims.

Sectarian clashes spread across the state, with houses of both Buddhists and Muslims being burnt down.

Most Rohingya Muslims have been moved out of Sittwe into temporary camps.

The Burmese government declared a state of emergency following the outbreak of violence and has since prevented foreign media from visiting the region.

However, the Channel 4 News team filmed the area of Sittwe known as Narzi, which it reported was once home to an estimated 10,000.

Local Rakhine Buddhists were picking through the debris of the houses, which had once been the Rohingya area of the city.

One man told reporters that the Muslims had set fire to their own homes in an attempt to burn down the whole community.

The UNHCR has said that about 80,000 people have been displaced in and around the Sittwe and Maungdaw by the violence.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said that forces sent to quash the unrest were reported to be targeting Muslims.

She has called for an independent investigation.

There is long-standing tension between Rakhine people, who are Buddhist and make up the majority of the state's population, and Muslims.

Most of these Muslims identify themselves as Rohingya, a group that originated in part of Bengal, now called Bangladesh.

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