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13 dead in fire at Muslim school in Myanmar

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Thirteen people, including children, were killed after a fire broke out on Tuesday in a Muslim school in Yangon, police in Myanmar's main city said, adding that an electrical fault was suspected.

The blaze comes against a backdrop of heightened Buddhist-Muslim tensions in Myanmar following recent sectarian clashes, but police said initial indications suggested an electrical fault had caused the fire.

"Thirteen people, mostly children, were killed during a fire at a Muslim religious school in downtown Yangon," a police officer at the scene told AFP. "We assume that it was due to an electrical short circuit."

Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which broke out in the early hours of Tuesday morning, he said.

A second police officer said the 13 dead were among more than 70 people sleeping at the school when the fire began.

"The rest of the children were rescued," he said.

The Myanmar Police Force reported on its official Facebook page that the victims died from burns or smoke inhalation.

"According to the investigation by township police officers, the fire was caused by excessively high (electric) voltage," it added.

A wave of sectarian violence that began on March 20 has left 43 people dead and mosques and homes burned in several towns in central Myanmar, prompting the government to impose emergency rule and curfews in some areas.

The situation in Yangon has also been tense, but mostly peaceful.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130401/13-dead-fire-at-muslim-school-myanmar