Myanmar Sends Hundreds of Troops to Rakhine Amid Rising Tension

Myanmar deploys hundreds of soldiers in Rakhine state

Amid a recent uptick in violence and recently deployed Myanmar Army troops in Rakhine State, the State Counselor's Office issued a press release on Friday condemning extremist acts and emphasizing its efforts toward development in the region.

Muslim-majority northern Rakhine was plunged into violence last October when Rohingya Muslim insurgents killed nine police officers, setting off a brutal counter-offensive beset by allegations of rape, killings and torture by government troops.

Myanmar deploys hundreds of soldiers in the northern Rakhine state amid fears of a new wave of violence. The government has accused insurgents of murdering and abducting dozens of villagers and perceived collaborators with the state.

The military representative and a spokesman for Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, were not immediately available for comment.

The government's decision to increase its military presence in the region and declare curfews came a week after local residents claimed that they had found bodies of seven Buddhists in the vicinity of Maungdaw after they discovered a camp for Rohingya fighters.

"This development, which reportedly took place yesterday, is a cause for major concern", said the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee.

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United Nations investigators who have interviewed almost 75,000 people fleeing the Rakhine state have repeatedly concluded that Myanmar's troops are most likely to have committed crimes against humanity when dealing with ethnic tensions in the Rakhine state.

A Rohingya villager said his community feared a repeat of last year's crackdown. The government rejects the allegations of abuses and has refused to cooperate with a United Nations fact-finding mission to look into them.

The ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights, or APHR, also voiced concern about the increased number of troops in Rakhine.

"Some Muslim villages in Rathidaung dare not to go outside", said Hasumyar, who only gave his first name and lives in a township that has been placed under curfew.

About 1.1 million Rohingya Muslims live in Rakhine, but are denied citizenship and face restrictions on their movements and access to basic services.

"There have been increasing reports of incidents affecting the local population, including the killings of six Mro villagers on August 3", she said, adding, "I share the concern of the Myanmar government and its people regarding the safety and security of those living in Rakhine state in the light of these incidents".


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