US Urges Myanmar to Avoid Reprisals After Attacks Kill 89

Tuesday, 29 Aug, 2017

At least 96 people have been killed in the Rakhine region of Myanmar since early Friday, according to government figures.

Following the attack on Friday, the army declared war against "terrorism" killing many and besieging townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, a home to almost 800,000 people, imposing a curfew in the area from 6 pm to 6 am.

Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's minister for social welfare, relief and resettlement, told Reuters late on Saturday that 4,000 "ethnic villagers" who had fled their villages had been evacuated, referring to non-Muslim residents of the area.

More than 100 people have died since Friday as scores of men purportedly from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) ambushed Myanmar police posts with knives, guns and homemade explosives, killing at least a dozen security force members.

"Despite its claim that it is "protecting" the Rohingya, it knows that it is provoking the security forces into a heavy-handed military response, hoping that this will further alienate Rohingya communities, drive support for ARSA, and the place the spotlight of the world back on military abuses in northern Rakhine State".

Locals and activists accuse the state police of shooting indiscriminately at unarmed Rohingya men, women and children and carrying out arson attacks in what they have declared is a war against "terrorism", especially around the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung.

She said her husband and brothers had taken a group of 26 people, including children, to the Naf river which separates Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Myanmar authorities have previously said they have links to militants trained by the Pakistani Taliban.

Another 400,000 live in Bangladeshi camps, although Dhaka only recognises a small portion as refugees.

Tens of thousands of Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since the first outbreak of violence occurred in October 2016, in which militants killed nine policemen at the post bordering Rakhine.

Sayra Begum, a 28-year-old Rohingya woman from Tomru village in Rakhine, spoke to CNN from an overcrowded, under-supplied refugee camp on the border.

According to the United Nations, more than 80,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since last October's clashes.

The impoverished western state neighboring Bangladesh has become a crucible of religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled and perceived as illegal immigrants in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

In October past year, Rohingya militants attacked several security checkpoints and killed scores of police officers.

Facing claims of crimes against humanity for army attacks on the minority Muslim Rohingya population, Suu Kyi's administration has sought to severely restrict access to Rakhine for aid groups and the media while publicly discrediting them.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, considers them Bangladeshi interlopers and Bangladesh says they're Burmese.

Annan also condemned the new attacks, saying "no cause can justify such brutality and senseless killing" and urging the government to exercise restraint and "ensure that innocent civilians are not harmed".