Muslim militants strike Myanmar's Rakhine State; 71 people killed

Aug 27, 2017, 00:54
Muslim militants strike Myanmar's Rakhine State; 71 people killed

Over "two thousand Rohingyas" entered Bangladesh through different points of Naikhyangchhari yesterday fearing persecution in Myanmar, according to a local public representative.

One of them, 22-year-old Md Musa from the Maungdaw town, just across the border at Cox's Bazar Teknaf, succumbed to his wounds at 11:15am, said Assistant Sub Inspector Alauddin Talukder. BGB said they sent back 146 Rohingyas hours after they entered the country.

Clashes between the majority Buddhists and minority Muslims are a daily phenomenon in the Burmese state of Rakhine. Furthermore, the Bangladesh authorities estimate that around half a million unregistered and 30,000 registered refugees are staying in Bangladesh.

A series of predawn attacks Friday by suspected Rohingya militants in a restive area of Myanmar killed 11 army personnel and police officers, leaving a total of at least 70 dead on both sides, according to the government.

The office of Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has announced the death toll in a statement, claiming the Rohingya people killed were fighters.

An AFP reporter at the scene said hundreds of Rohingya made it across the porous border early on Saturday when border patrols were relaxed because of heavy rain, with some swimming across the Naf river.

"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. That's where about 100 people from three villages, Thabeit Taung, Kin Chaung and Thabawh Chaung, have taken refuge, too. About 10 percent of the world's stateless people live in Myanmar and Rohingyas make up the single largest stateless community in the world.

Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, a Rohingyan insurgent group, has claimed responsibility for the attacks as vengeance for the recent raids by the Myanmar security forces.

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The government maintains that the Rohingya Muslims are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, calling them "Bengali".

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

Mr Annan led worldwide condemnation of the attacks, saying he was "gravely concerned".

Guterres termed the attacks as "unacceptable" and reiterated the "importance of addressing the root causes of violence, in particular issues related to identity and citizenship, and reducing inter-communal tensions", his spokesperson said.

The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Myanmar Renata Lok-Dessallien also released a statement on Friday condemning the attacks and called on all parties to refrain from violence and resolve issues through dialogue.

In October 2016, a Rohingya group was accused of killing nine policemen in Myanmar.

The military counter-offensive in October resulted in some 87,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, where they joined many others who have fled from Myanmar over the past 25 years.

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