Police warn locals to stay silent about pagoda victims

June 2, 2009 (DVB), Burmese government troops in Rangoon's Dala township deployed to maintain security after a ancient pagoda collapsed on Saturday have warned locals not to talk about victims of the accident.

The 2,300-year-old Danok pagoda mysteriously collapsed whilst construction workers were carrying out renovation work, with various sourcing estimating up to 20 deaths. It stands at over 50 metres and is said to hold two Buddha relics.

A local in Dala, south-west of Rangoon, said police and military security was tight around the pagoda following its collapse.

"There are about 60 to 70 soldiers in the pagoda's premises and they are telling people to say no one was killed or hurt when someone asks," he said under condition of anonymity.

"About fifty people are still trapped underneath the debris."

Most of the people trapped are navy soldiers who were volunteering in the renovation.

Locals said the army was using bulldozers to clear the debris yesterday while family members of the missing awaited news about their relatives.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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