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Malaysia warns Myanmar immigrants against violence

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysia’s government on Thursday warned immigrants from neighboring Myanmar not to restart sectarian clashes that recently killed four people.

The fighting in several neighborhoods around Kuala Lumpur earlier this month triggered worries in Malaysia that tensions between Myanmar’s Buddhists and Muslim minority had spilled over to a country that hosts hundreds of thousands of Myanmar nationals.

Malaysian police are holding 250 Myanmar citizens from a security sweep following the violence because they were found without valid immigration documents. It is not clear whether they would be charged in court or deported.

“The quarrel they have back home is brought to our country,” Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar told reporters after a meeting with Myanmar’s deputy ministers for foreign affairs and labor.

Police are now monitoring locations where Myanmar immigrants are known to work, the home ministry said in a statement.

Myanmar Deputy Foreign Minister U Zin Yaw said rival gangs in Kuala Lumpur appeared to have used religious grievances as an excuse to start fights that were not directly related to waves of violence targeting mostly members of the Muslim Rohingya community in Myanmar in the past year that killed several hundred people.

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