Myan­mar says 163 killed in Ro­hingya at­tacks in past year

Truro Daily News - - WORLD -

At least 163 peo­ple have been killed and 91 oth­ers have gone miss­ing over the past year in at­tacks car­ried out by Ro­hingya Mus­lim mil­i­tants in Myan­mar’s restive Rakhine state, Myan­mar govern­ment of­fi­cials said.

The com­ments came after the bod­ies of at least 45 Hin­dus were dis­cov­ered in three mass graves ear­lier in the week. The govern­ment blames Mus­lim in­sur­gents for the killings, although they de­nied re­spon­si­bil­ity in a state­ment Wed­nes­day.

The govern­ment’s In­for­ma­tion Com­mit­tee re­leased a state­ment on its Face­book page say­ing that from Oc­to­ber 2016 to Au­gust 2017, at least 79 peo­ple were killed in the at­tacks and 37 have gone miss­ing, in­clud­ing lo­cal of­fi­cials, pub­lic ser­vants and se­cu­rity forces. An­other 84 were killed and 54 have gone miss­ing since Aug. 25, when the Arakan Ro­hingya Sal­va­tion Army, or ARSA, launched at­tacks on at least 30 po­lice out­posts.

The govern­ment had pre­vi­ously said that nearly 400 al­leged in­sur­gents had been killed since Aug. 25.

On Mon­day, Myan­mar of­fi­cials said they had dis­cov­ered at least 45 slain Hin­dus in three mass graves in con­flict-torn north­ern Rakhine state. Twenty-eight were

un­cov­ered from two mass graves on Sun­day and 17 were dis­cov­ered in a dif­fer­ent mass grave in the same area on Mon­day.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said the 45 bod­ies were among about 100 Hin­dus miss­ing since ARSA car­ried out the si­mul­ta­ne­ous at­tacks on the po­lice out­posts.

“We are still search­ing for more mass graves in that same area,” said Maj. Za­yar Nyein of Bor­der Guard Po­lice Head­quar­ters in

Maung­daw. “I don’t know ex­actly why these ter­ror­ists killed that many peo­ple. The Hindu vil­lage was very much up north and com­mu­ni­ca­tion was not that good, and that’s why se­cu­rity forces were not able to reach out to the area sooner.”

ARSA is­sued a state­ment Wed­nes­day on Twit­ter deny­ing it had abused civil­ians in the vil­lages where the bod­ies were found. It said it has sym­pa­thy for the

vic­tims of war crimes and other atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted in the fight­ing, and would in­ves­ti­gate any such crimes com­mit­ted by Myan­mar au­thor­i­ties.

There was no way to im­me­di­ately ver­ify ei­ther the govern­ment or ARSA ac­counts.

A govern­ment crack­down that fol­lowed the at­tacks left more than 200 Ro­hingya Mus­lim vil­lages burned and sent at least 480,000 Ro­hingya flee­ing into Bangladesh.

Hindu fam­i­lies who crossed from Myan­mar to Bangladesh to flee the vi­o­lence said their fam­ily mem­bers and rel­a­tives were among those who were killed and buried in the shal­low mass graves that were dis­cov­ered this week. Hindu women who are now in refugee camps in Bangladesh told The As­so­ci­ated Press that the at­tack­ers killed their fam­ily mem­bers and rel­a­tives and later brought them to Bangladesh.

“Most of our neigh­bours are Mus­lims,” said Bina Sharma, a Hindu vil­lager who sur­vived the vi­o­lence. “Masked men threat­ened us and asked us to give them cash and gold. Later they killed 10 of my fam­ily mem­bers. They brought us to Bangladesh and con­fined us in a camp. They wanted to tor­ture and kill us, but we told them we would con­vert to Is­lam and abide by the rules, but later with the po­lice help we were taken to a refugee camp.”

Mean­while, a Ja­panese doc­tor who just re­turned from the Ro­hingya refugee camps in Bangladesh said the sit­u­a­tion there was “ex­tra­or­di­nary.”

Masamichi Yokoe, who was a part of the Ja­panese Red Cross So­ci­ety ad­vanced re­lief team, said the rapid speed of the refugees ar­riv­ing at the camps is “ab­nor­mal” and mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for aid workers to as­sess whether suf­fi­cient aid is com­ing in.

AP PHOTO

Ro­hingya Mus­lims who crossed over from Myan­mar into Bangladesh, walk back to their shel­ters after col­lect­ing aid in Taiy Khali refugee camp in Bangladesh yes­ter­day.

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