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April 2 2013 3 02 /04 /April /2013 05:43

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


Firefighters extinguished the blaze, which broke out above a mosque in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a police officer on the scene said.


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

The Burma 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.


Police officer Thet Lwin said the mosque sheltered about 75 orphans, and most escaped unharmed by running out of a door after police knocked it open.


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 Burma, prompting the government to impose emergency rule and curfews in some areas.

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


Edited by Bonnie Malkin

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