Myanmar Buddhist mob kills scores of Muslims as monks call for “safeguarding religion”

Early news that a mob of Buddhist villagers rampaged through a Muslim township in the Arakan state of Myanmar has been confirmed, with the casualty numbers worse than originally reported. According to this AP report, a UN probe into the incident “has confirmed that at least 48 Muslims appear to have been killed” in the violence that took place over several days in mid-January. The Myanmar government has “vehemently denied” the reports, which are difficult to verify as the troubled areas have been sealed off to foreign journalists.

In related news, more than 30,000 Buddhist monks in Myanmar met on January 15 and announced the “Nationality and Religion Safeguarding Association,” urging their parliament to enact their nine-point plan.

VICE Underground also spoke with U Wirathu—the outspoken Burmese monk whose image recently appeared on the cover of Time with the provocative headline, “The Face of Buddhist Terror”— and posted an extensive profile on him and his 969 movement on January 24.