World Bulletin / News Desk
In the past month, rights groups have claimed that the military is killing, raping and torturing villagers in the country's western-most state as it seeks to avenge, and find those responsible for, the killing of nine border police officers.
Many of the Rohingya -- described by the United Nations as among the most persecuted minority groups worldwide -- have been living in camps since communal violence broke out in Rakhine between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya in 2012.
On Wednesday, a UN-led 10-member delegation arrived in Maungdaw, close to the border with Bangladesh, where many of the armed individuals are suspected of coming from.
Maungdaw is one of two townships in northern Rakhine where aid delivery and access to information have been tightly restricted since Oct. 9 when assailants killed the nine officers and stole dozens of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Min Aung, spokesman for the Rakhine regional government, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that the delegation -- including diplomats from the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom and China -- will visit displaced people from both communities as well as villagers in the areas.
“During the two-day visit, they can freely talk to anyone they want to,” he said by phone.
The visit was arranged by the central government in cooperation with the regional government as soldiers from the area have been accused of the abuses during the operation.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a statement Monday that satellite imagery shows evidence of fire-related destruction in the villages of Kyetyoepyin, Ngar Sar Kyu and Warpaik in Maungdaw on Oct. 22.
It demanded the government allow the UN to assist in investigating the suspected destruction.
“New satellite images reveal destruction in Rakhine State that demands an impartial and independent investigation, something the Burmese government has yet to show it is capable of doing,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at HRW.
“The government should end its blanket denial of wrongdoing and blocking of aid agencies, and stop making excuses for keeping international monitors from the area,” he added.
Min Aung told Anadolu Agency that the diplomats' visit will address the international concerns.
“They will see the ground situation,” he underlined.
According to the government, over 60 people have been arrested since the attacks on the police station outposts.