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One shot dead by police in west Myanmar camp unrest

A man was shot dead after security forces in strife-torn western Myanmar opened fire as unrest broke out in a camp for displaced people, authorities said Friday (Aug 8). A police officer said he was shot when he tried to stab the police.

NAY PYI TAW: A man was shot dead after security forces in strife-torn western Myanmar opened fire as unrest broke out in a camp for displaced people, authorities said Friday (Aug 8).

Police were called to a displacement camp near the Rakhine state capital Sittwe on Wednesday, as a group of inhabitants attempted to attack two local brothers, aged 13 and 21, who they accused of theft. Officers fired warning shots as they tried to rescue the pair and were attacked with rocks and knives, according to state media reports and local police.

"One man was shot and killed when he tried to stab police," a police officer in Sittwe told AFP, asking not to be named. Two other men were arrested.

Rakhine state remains riven by deep communal hostilities after two waves of bloodshed in 2012 that left at least 200 people dead.

Some 140,000 people, mainly stateless Rohingyas, are homeless and trapped by travel restrictions in camps, without access to work and cut off from most basic services. More than 86,000 people have taken to rickety boats in the past two years trying to flee the situation in Rakhine, which is also now gripped by a severe health crisis.

The shooting comes as Myanmar hosts a series of meetings with top diplomats, including weekend talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry that will highlight concerns over sectarian violence in the nation. Unrest has erupted sporadically across Myanmar since 2012, most recently in the second largest city of Mandalay, fuelling fears of a destabilising impact on that country's democratic transition.

There are an estimated one million Muslims living in impoverished Rakhine, according to official estimates. Many are Rohingya, but the minority is not recognised by the Myanmar government which views them as predominantly immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.