MEDAN, Indonesia – Buddhist and Muslim asylum seekers from Myanmar brawled with rocks and knifes at an immigration detention center in Indonesia early Friday, leaving eight people dead and 15 injured, police said.
The fight broke out at the center in North Sumatra province, where more than 100 Rohingya migrants — most intercepted off Indonesia's coast in rickety boats — and 11 illegal fishermen from Myanmar were being held together, said local police chief Endro Kiswanto.
He said witnesses told police the clash started after a Muslim Rohingya confronted a Buddhist fisherman about sectarian violence in their homeland. Insults were traded, and people began fighting with rocks and knifes.
Eight Buddhists were killed, and 15 Rohingya were injured. Three other Buddhists escaped unharmed, Kiswanto said.
All of the victims were rushed to a hospital in the provincial capital, Medan, about 23 kilometers (14 miles) south of Belawan.
"We are still investigating the incident, including how they got knifes," he said. "We will expedite their repatriation."
Sectarian violence erupted in central Myanmar last month when mobs of armed Buddhists torched Muslim-owned homes and shops. Dozens were killed and thousands, mostly Muslims, were forced to flee.