A mob has burned down a mosque in the predominantly Buddhist nation Myanmar, marking the second attack on a mosque in just over a week.

The interior of a mosque destroyed by a group of men on 23 June in a Thayethamin, central Burma. A second Muslim prayer hall has been attacked in the north of the country amid a spike in inter-religious violence.
The interior of a mosque destroyed by a group of men on 23 June in a Thayethamin, central Burma. A second Muslim prayer hall has been attacked in the north of the country amid a spike in inter-religious violence.

A mob has burned down a mosque in northern Myanmar in the second such attack in just over a week in the predominantly Buddhist nation, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar said security forces in Hpakant in Kachin state were unable to control Friday's attackers, who were armed with sticks, knives and other weapons.

It said the mosque's leaders had failed to meet a June 30 deadline set by local authorities to tear down the structure to make way for the construction of a bridge.

On June 23, a mob demolished a mosque and a Muslim cemetery in a village in Bago Region, about 60 kilometres northeast of Yangon, reportedly as a consequence of a personal dispute.

Nearly 100 police guarded a northern Myanmar village on Saturday after a Buddhist mob burned down a mosque a police...

Posted by Sekhar Sharma on Sunday, July 3, 2016

Sporadic but fierce violence against Muslims in Myanmar has occurred since rioting broke out in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority to flee their homes in western Rakhine State.

Discrimination against the Rohingya is widespread and the government refuses to recognise most as citizens, treating even long-term residents as illegal immigrants.

A boy walks past the entrance of a destroyed mosque after a group of men attacked it in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months in the village of Thayethamin outside Yangon, Myanmar June 24, 2016.
A boy walks past the entrance of a destroyed mosque after a group of men attacked it in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months in the village of Thayethamin outside Yangon, Myanmar June 24, 2016.

The UN special human rights envoy to Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, ended a 12-day tour of the country urging that the recently seated government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi clamp down on such attacks.

The UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee warns
The UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee warns "tensions along religious lines remain pervasive across Myanmar society"

"It is clear that tensions along religious lines remain pervasive across Myanmar society. Incidents of hate speech, incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence, and of religious intolerance continue to be a cause for concern," Lee said in a statement on Friday.

She expressed specific concern over attacks on religious properties.

"It is vital that the government take prompt action, including by conducting thorough investigations and holding perpetrators to account. I am therefore concerned by reports that the government will not pursue action in the most recent case due to fears of fuelling greater tensions and provoking more conflict. This is precisely the wrong signal to send," she said, referring to the June 23 incident.

The interior of a destroyed mosque is seen after a group of men attack it in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months in the village of Thayethamin outside Yangon, Myanmar June 24, 2016.
The interior of a destroyed mosque is seen after a group of men attack it in the first serious outburst of inter-religious violence in months in the village of Thayethamin outside Yangon, Myanmar June 24, 2016.

No one has been arrested for the destruction of the mosques, though the Global New Light of Myanmar said authorities were investigating the attack in Hpakant.

Human rights groups have criticised Suu Kyi for failing to act decisively against the Buddhist extremists encouraging the attacks. The military-backed government she succeeded also did little to ease tensions.

Source: AP