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Burmese Muslim school hit by deadly blaze in Rangoon

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

A fire at a Muslim school in the Burmese city of Rangoon has killed at least 13 people including children, officials say. Police officers said the fire was caused by an electrical fault and not due to any criminal activity. Most of the children escaped unharmed, reports BBC.

The fire comes amid an upsurge in violence between Buddhists and Muslims. At least 40 people have been killed since 20 March and curfews have been imposed in some areas.

Police spokesman Thet Lwin told the AP news agency the two-storey building - part of a mosque - in eastern Rangoon sheltered about 75 orphans. It was not immediately clear how many children were among the dead.

Most of them escaped by running out of a door after police knocked it open, he said. Fire crews put out the blaze and the building is reported to be badly burned but intact. The Myanmar [Burma] Police Force said on its official Facebook page that the victims had died from burns or smoke inhalation. "According to the investigation by township police officers, the fire was caused by excessively high (electric) voltage," it said.

On 22 March, a state of emergency was enforced in the central town of Meiktila in Mandalay region where communal violence began after a reported argument at a gold shop.

President Thein Sein has warned that the government will use force if necessary to stop "political opportunists and religious extremists" from fomenting hatred between faiths.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/asianet/130406/burmese-muslim-school-hit-deadly-blaze-rangoon