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BANGKOK – Violence in Myanmar's western Rakhine state has driven thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims fleeing toward Bangladesh for safety, along with a smaller exodus of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.
A majority of the country's estimated 1 million Rohingya live in the northern part of Rakhine state, where Rohingya insurgents launched coordinated attacks last week against police posts, setting off allegedly brutal retaliation by government forces.
Tension has long been high between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists, leading to bloody rioting in 2012.
Most of the violence since last week seems to be directed at Rohingya villages, but Rakhine Buddhists, feeling unsafe after the upsurge in fighting, are moving south to the state's capital, Sittwe, where Buddhists are a majority and have greater security.