World Bulletin / News Desk
Myanmar's military said its troops killed six people and lost two soldiers in clashes with attackers in Rakhine state on Saturday, in the latest flare-up of violence in the crisis-hit region.
Northern Rakhine, which is home to the Muslim Rohingya minority and borders Bangladesh, has been under military lockdown ever since surprise raids on border posts left nine police dead last month.
Soldiers have killed several dozen people and arrested scores in their hunt for the attackers, who the government says are radicalised Rohingya militants with links to overseas rebels.
The crisis and reports of grave rights abuses being carried out in tandem with the security crackdown have piled international pressure on Myanmar's new civilian government and raised questions about its ability to control the army.
Authorities have also heavily restricted access to the area, making it difficult to independently verify government reports or accusations of army abuse.
On Saturday the military said it came under fresh attacks in the border region, first by a mob of some 60 people wielding "small guns and swords".
The clash broke out in the early morning during a "clearance operation" in Ma Yinn Taung village in Maungdaw township, according to an army statement.
"In that fight, six dead bodies of attackers along with a gun which the attackers stole on 9 October were retrieved," it said, adding that one soldier also died while others were wounded.
Troops then followed the attackers to nearby Gwa Zone village where they encountered a 500-strong armed mob, the military said.
"The army fought back but the group of attackers was very large and the army had to use two helicopters," the statement said, adding that one officer was killed in the operation.
Allegations of sexual abuse
More than 100,000 people, mostly Rohingya, were pushed into displacement camps by the bloodshed while international rights groups have repeatedly called on Suu Kyi to carve out a solution for the group.
In a statement issued Friday, Zainab Hawa Bangura, the U.N.’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict, said she was gravely concerned by the reports and said it was essential for the government to allow humanitarian access to the area to provide support for the survivors.
“The recent escalation of violence may lead to more incidents of sexual assault, and therefore I call upon the government of Myanmar to take measures to stop this spiral of violence, particularly against women and girls,” she said.
Last Mod: 12 Kasım 2016, 21:48