Sittwe: More than 30,000 people have been displaced by deadly sectarian clashes in western Myanmar, a senior local official said onThursday. Nearly 31,900 people are being housed in 37 camps across Rakhine, said Colonel Htein Lin, security and border affairs minister for the state, adding that stability has been restored to the regional capital Sittwe.

He said 29 people -- 16 Muslims and 13 ethnic Buddhist Rakhines -- had been killed since Friday, with scores more wounded and nearly 2,600 homes burned across the state.

His comments came at the first press conference by officials in Sittwe since widespread rioting began on Friday.

The Buddhists and Rohingya have accused each other of violent attacks.

Decades of discrimination have left the Muslim Rohingya stateless and viewed by the United Nations as among the most persecuted minorities on the planet.

About 800,000 Rohingya live in Myanmar, according to the UN, mostly in Rakhine.

The Myanmar government considers the Rohingya to be foreigners, while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

 Hla Thein, Rakhine state chief justice, said that "nobody won, nobody benefited" from the violence.

"What we got was refugees. Those who wanted this to happen can testify to that," he added. "Everyone has a duty to prevent this happening again... but it's very difficult to talk about peace when both sides don't really trust each other."


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