World Bulletin / News Desk
A man found dead in a conflict-torn area of western Rakhine State has been identified as a Muslim who the government says had been working closely with local administrative officials.
State media claimed Wednesday that the death was the third in the last week of local Muslims who had been collaborating with authorities as they efforted to crack down on a gang who killed nine border police officials Oct. 9 in an area close to Myanmar's western border with Bangladesh.
While Rohingya advocacy groups have claimed that around 400 Rohingya were killed in subsequent army clearance operations, the government says 76 alleged "attackers" (including six who reportedly died during interrogation) were killed and some 575 suspects detained.
The body of the man -- identified as Sirazuhut from Wet Kyein village in the state's north -- was reported to have been found Monday beside a creek that runs between two villages in Maungdaw district -- an area predominantly inhabited by Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority.
Sirazuhut, a former village administrator who the government says had been actively working with local officials in regional development activities, had been reported missing since Dec.16.
On Sunday, another Muslim man -- Rawphi, an administrator at Yae Twin Kyun village -- was found dead with knife wounds, while on Friday fellow Muslim Dus Mammad, a volunteer librarian in nearby Ngakhura village, was found dead.
Rohingya groups have claimed that Rohingya -- described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted groups worldwide -- were raped in the military operations, which also saw some 600 suspects detained and Rohingya villages torched.
The government, however, has claimed that Rohingya torched their own homes to evoke international sympathy, and the rapes never took place.
Humanitarian outfits have called for an independent probe into the initial attacks, the ongoing operations and reported rapes and rights abuses in Rakhine, as with the area placed under military lockdown, rights groups and international reporters have been unable to enter.
Early last month, fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member Malaysia heavily criticized Myanmar’s government and military over the violence, with Prime Minister Najib Razak and his cabinet referring to it as "genocide” or “ethnic cleansing".
Myanmar, however, has highlighted ASEAN's non-interference principle in its response to countries accusing it of human rights atrocities, stressing fellow member Indonesia's “positive and constructive" approach while criticizing Malaysia.
Rakhine has been torn by racial and ethnic division since mid-2012, after communal violence broke out in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya.
The violence left more than 100 people dead, over 100,000 (primarily Rohingya) displaced in camps and more than 2,500 houses razed -- most of which belonged to Rohingya.
Members of the minority were also not allowed to stand or vote in Myanmar's 2015 elections, which Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi's party won in a landslide, as Myanmar does not see them as nationals.
Despite being accused of indifference to the Rohingya and their suffering, Suu Kyi has long said that the situation in Rakhine is economic, not political, as she strives to balance calls for intervention from the international community with anti-Muslim cries from nationalists -- many of whom voted for her party -- back home.Last Mod: 29 Aralık 2016, 08:53