89 killed in Myanmar as Rohingya militants besiege border post

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 26 Aug 2017 10:24:58


MAUNGDAW,

AT LEAST 89 people including a dozen security forces were killed as Rohingya militants besieged border posts in Rakhine State, Myanmar’s authorities said on Friday, triggering a fresh exodus of refugees towards Bangladesh.


The State is bisected by religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled and perceived as illegal immigrants in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
The office of de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said 12 security officials had been killed alongside 77 militants -- the highest declared single day toll since fighting broke out last year.


Friday’s fighting exploded around Rathedaung township which has seen a heavy build-up of Myanmar troops in recent weeks, with reports filtering out of killings by shadowy groups, army-blockaded villages and abuses. Some 20 police posts came under attack in the early hours of Friday by an estimated 150 insurgents, some carrying guns and using homemade explosives, Myanmar’s military said.


“The military and cops are fighting back together against extremist Bengali terrorists,” Commander-in- Chief Min Aung Hlaing said in a statement. One resident in Maungdaw said gunfire could be heard throughout the night. “We are still hearing gunshots now, we dare not to go out from our house,” the resident said by phone, asking not to be named. Footage obtained by AFP showed smoke rising from Zedipyin village in Rathedaung township where fighting was ongoing. Despite years of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence. But a previously unknown militant group emerged as a force last October under the banner of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which claims to be leading an insurgency based in the remote May Yu mountain range bordering Bangladesh.