Myan­mar de­nies Bangladeshi claims of Mus­lims try­ing to flee over border

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Myan­mar’s state media yes­ter­day de­nied Bangladesh border guards’ ac­counts of Ro­hingya Mus­lims flee­ing con­flict at home by try­ing to cross into the north­ern neigh­bor. A com­mand­ing of­fi­cer of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) said on Fri­day his staff pro­vided food and medicines to 82 peo­ple, in­clud­ing women and chil­dren, at­tempt­ing to leave Myan­mar but turned them back from the fron­tier. Two boats with 86 peo­ple were pushed back on Tues­day.

State-run English lan­guage news­pa­per Global New Light of Myan­mar said on Satur­day a newly cre­ated in­for­ma­tion task­force had found the re­ports to be un­true. “An in­quiry into news re­ports by Reuters that nearly 200 peo­ple flee­ing Myan­mar had been ar­rested and re­pulsed yes­ter­day by Bangladesh border guards has been found to be false,” said the news­pa­per, quot­ing BGB of­fi­cials.

Sol­diers have flooded the north of Rakhine state, along Myan­mar’s fron­tier with Bangladesh, re­spond­ing to at­tacks by al­leged Mus­lim mil­i­tants on border posts on Oct. 9. Sixty-nine sus­pected in­sur­gents and 17 mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces have been killed since the vi­o­lence be­gan, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial re­ports.

Ear­lier this month, Myan­mar de­nied ac­cu­sa­tions by Ro­hingya that its mil­i­tary had killed peo­ple flee­ing the con­flict which has dis­placed up to 30,000 peo­ple. Ro­hingya res­i­dents have told Reuters hun­dreds have tried to flee to Bangladesh af­ter fight­ing in­ten­si­fied a week ago. The U.N. refugee agency has said the border should be kept open for peo­ple flee­ing vi­o­lence.

The con­flict is the biggest test for No­bel Peace Prize win­ner Aung San Suu Kyi since be­com­ing Myan­mar’s de facto leader seven months ago, lay­ing bare her lack of over­sight over the mil­i­tary, which has been ac­cused of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions against eth­nic mi­nori­ties in the past. The Global New Light of Myan­mar said the gov­ern­ment planned to cre­ate an in­ves­ti­ga­tion com­mis­sion to look into the “vi­o­lent at­tacks in Maungtaw”, the re­gion in Rakhine at the cen­ter of the un­rest. The re­port did not spec­ify whether the probe would in­clude an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of al­le­ga­tions of hu­man rights abuses that the United Na­tions, the United States and Bri­tain have called for.

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