Thousands flee for border as violence erupts in Myanmar

27 August, 2017, 00:54 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Former U.N. Secretary General and Chairman of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State Kofi Annan talks to journalists during a press briefing on the final report on Rakhine State Thursday Aug. 24 2017 in Yangon Myanmar

The government said some Muslim villagers in Yathetaung township in the vicinity of the attacks burned down their dwellings and fled into the nearby Mayu mountain range where the military has reported finding insurgent training camps.

The northern part of Rakhine closest to Bangladesh has been in lockdown since deadly attacks by militants on border posts in October 2016.

Fighting on Friday resulted in the highest-declared death toll in a single day since violence broke out past year.

Myanmar government said that at least 24 police posts in the Rakhine state were attended by the Rohingya insurgents early on Friday leaving 12 security-men killed. Images on government websites showed graphic pictures of some of those killed in the attacks and official statements referred to the attackers as "extremist Bengali terrorists".

The Advisory titled "Identification of illegal migrants and monitoring thereof" was issued on August 8 which emphasises the detection and deportation of illegal migrants from Rakhine State i.e. Rohingyas. On Friday, the United Nations condemned the militant attacks and called for all parties to refrain from violence.

Annan's recommendations followed a one-year investigation of the Rohingya situation and advised the government on long-term solutions for the violence-riven, ethnically and religiously divided state.

The report urged the government to take immediate action to heal the divides and to abolish the restrictions of movement and citizenship imposed on 1 million Rohingya in Rakhine.

"The alleged scale and gravity of these attacks mark a worrying escalation of violence", he said.

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

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Friday's attacks on at least 30 posts on the Bangladesh frontier in Maungdaw district were claimed by a group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

The group also accused Myanmar forces of carrying out raids, killings and rape.

A Myanmar border guard police officers stand guard in Buthidaung, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, July 13, 2017.

"About 500 Rohingya, mostly women and children, spent the last night in a marshy area waiting to cross over", said Khan.

But they were pushed back.

Meanwhile, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) pushed back 146 Rohingyas as they tried to enter Bangladesh through the Naf River on Friday morning.

They worry that the attacks -much larger and better organized than those in October- will spark an even more aggressive army response and trigger communal clashes between Muslims and Buddhist ethnic Rakhines.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in Washington that as security forces act to prevent further violence and bring the perpetrators to justice, they should respect the rule of law and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.


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