Yangon– Three suspects have been arrested in Myanmar for planning bomb attacks on mosques as religious tensions continue after waves of anti-Muslim violence.
All three are Buddhist men from the western state of Rakhine, where clashes have killed some 250 and left 140,000 displaced, mostly Rohingya Muslims.
“They were planning to plant bombs at mosques, after attending training on the border in Karen state,” one police official in Yangon told AFP.
The state-run New Light of Myanmar said a raid on a Yangon guesthouse caught a 34-year-old suspect “red-handed making bombs with gunpowder and related materials” on November 13.
Further investigations led to the arrest of two additional suspects, aged 31 and 28, on Saturday, it said.
The report said the intended target was “religious buildings” and police were still hunting more suspects.
A series of explosions occurred in Myanmar in October that the United States called “acts of terror”, including one at the luxury Traders Hotel in Yangon.
Authorities arrested suspects linked to ethnic Karen rebels, though no group claimed responsibility.
Unrest in Rakhine broke out in June and October 2012, with fighting between local Buddhists and the Rohingya minority. Clashes also occurred in other areas.
A visit from a delegation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation last week sparked protests led by Buddhist monks.
Humanitarian workers have even faced threats for trying to help in the Muslim refugee camps.
Radical Buddhist monks have been accused of fuelling violence with anti-Muslim rhetoric, and some of the attackers were reportedly monks.
Myanmar views the 800,000 Rohingya population as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, reported the Myanmar Times.
The United Nations considers them one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar in overcrowded boats, and hundreds are believed to have died at sea this year.