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Four Burmese Nationals Charged in Malaysian Attack - 2004-04-08


Four Burmese nationals are under arrest in Malaysia's capital for an arson attack on Burma's embassy that wounded two embassy staffers.

Officials in Kuala Lumpur say the suspects, members of Burma's Rohingya Muslim minority, attacked the embassy building Wednesday morning with firebombs, machetes and an ax. When one of the embassy employees -- a counselor -- tried to stop them, he was hit in the arm and head with an ax. A security officer was cut on the arm.

Meanwhile, the two-story embassy building was gutted in the fire.

Burma's military government issued a statement condemning the attack as premeditated and dastardly, adding that it has increased security at its embassies worldwide. Rangoon said it is fully confident the culprits will be punished.

Malaysia's Internal Security Minister, Datuk Noh Omar, warned that foreigners who create problems will face stern consequences under Malaysian law.

Malaysian officials say the suspects had been turned away from the embassy on Tuesday after demanding assistance with an application for United Nations refugee status.

Tens of thousands of Burmese live in Malaysia, which is a popular destination for migrant workers. Other Burmese nationals have moved to Malaysia to escape persecution by the military government in Rangoon.

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