Religious 'radicals' driving Myanmar unrest: Experts
BANGKOK (AFP) - Two years after a repressive junta ceded power, Myanmar is grappling with a surge in religious extremism that experts trace to anti-Muslim "provocateurs" including radical Buddhist monks.
At least 43 people have been killed while mosques and Muslim homes have been destroyed over the past fortnight in central Myanmar, in a wave of violence that witnesses say seems to have been well organised.
"It is clear that there are some agents provocateurs with radical anti-Muslim agendas at work in the country - including influential Buddhist monks preaching intolerance and hatred of Muslims," said Mr Jim Della-Giacoma, a Myanmar expert with the International Crisis Group think-tank.
"Also, the systematic and methodical way in which Muslim neighbourhoods were razed to the ground is highly suggestive of some degree of advance planning by radical elements," he added.