At Least 71 Killed in Myanmar's Rakhine State

Mr Annan presented the finalised report to Myanmars President Htin Kyaw on Wednesday
Mr Annan presented the finalised report to Myanmars President Htin Kyaw on Wednesday
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27 August, 2017

Violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Muslim Rohingya in 2012 killed more than 200 people and displaced about 140,000, mainly Rohingya.

Reports emerging on Saturday claimed that some of those involved in the latest violence had received training in Bangladesh - an allegation backed up by the Burma Human Rights Network, a rights advocacy organisation, which said, "It has been relayed to BHRN that numerous refugees who fled last years fighting between Arsa and the Burmese army were recruited and trained since winter of last year".

The office of the nation's leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on its Facebook page that the attacks were meant to coincide with the release of Annan's report. The area has seen a heavy build-up of troops in recent weeks, with reports filtering out of killings by shadowy groups, army-blockaded villages, and abuses.

Authorities alleged that an estimated 150 Rohingya insurgents attacked at least 20 police outposts and an Army base, but "soldiers fought back".

The two managed to cross the border at Cox's Bazar the same night and then travelled to Chittagong city, he said.

"We are still hearing gunshots now, we dare not to go out from our house", the resident said by phone, asking not to be named.

Annan was appointed by Suu Kyi to head a year-long commission tasked with healing long-simmering divisions between the Rohingya and local Buddhists.

The conflict between the Myanmar government and Rohingya Muslims began since October 2016.

Suu Kyi's office also said some weapons had been taken from the police in the attacks.

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Bangladesh's border guards pushed back 146 Rohingya refugees who were coming to the country in the wake of fresh tensions between Rohingya insurgents and Myanmar security forces.

But border guards there said they would not be allowed to cross.

Zaman said that thousands of unarmed civilians including women, children and elderly people from the Rakhine State had assembled close to the border and were making attempts to enter Bangladesh.

On Wednesday, a commission headed by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan urged Myanmar government to give citizenship to Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted Muslim minority.

James Gomez, Amnesty International's director of southeast Asia and the Pacific, agreed with the report's findings that Myanmar's 1982 Citizenship Law be amended, and encouraged the lifting of restrictions on freedom of movement for Rohingya.

I welcome also the strong condemnation of the attacks today by the Commission's Chairman, Dr. Kofi Annan.

The UN has condemned the attack and called for "all parties to refrain from violence, protect civilians and restore order".

In response to the attacks, the police and military initiated clearance operations in northern Rakhine State, displacing more than 70,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, and facing allegations by worldwide rights groups of atrocities including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape. Global critics accuse government forces of systematic violence against Rohingya during these operations.

Three village officials were killed overnight near Maungdaw, according to the office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.


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