Myanmar president visits Rakhine state for 1st time since sectarian violence erupted last year

Myanmar's president has begun his first visit to western Rakhine state since sectarian violence broke out there more than a year ago.

President Thein Sein's three-day trip comes amid reports Tuesday of a new spate of arson attacks around the city of Thandwe, where dozens of homes have been torched or damaged since the weekend.

Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation, has been grappling with Buddhist-Muslim violence that has killed hundreds of people and sent 140,000 more fleeing since June 2012, the majority of them Muslims.

A senior official in the president's office said Thein Sein arrived Tuesday in the Rakhine state capital of Sittwe and would also travel to the inland town of Mrauk-U. The official declined to be identified because he was unauthorized to speak about the trip.