US warns against travel to parts of Myanmar after riots

The United States on Tuesday warned against travel to Mandalay region and parts of Yangon after deadly communal rioting in central Myanmar that has seen Muslim homes and mosques razed.

A post on the US Embassy website said the unrest in Meiktila "has resulted in strong feelings on many sides". It "strongly advised" citizens to avoid areas in the main city of Yangon and all of Mandalay region amid signs the unrest has spread.

Clashes that erupted on March 20 left 40 people dead and thousands homeless after gangs of young men and monks roamed the streets of Meiktila armed with knives and sticks, torching swathes of the town's Muslim area.

Further attacks in other areas in the centre of the country have been reported since the military brought an uneasy order to the town.

Conflict in the region "poses threats" to US citizens travelling in the area, the embassy statement said, urging Americans to "avoid travel to the Mandalay region because of escalating violence in that area".

It said a fight had also broken out in a central area of Yangon near Kandawgyi Lake "as a result of ongoing tensions".