71 killed in violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine
YANGON - Agence France-Presse
REUTERS photoAt least 71 people including 12 security forces were killed as Rohingya militants besieged border posts in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar’s authorities said Aug. 25, the highest declared single day toll since fighting broke out last year.
The western state is bisected by religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled by many Buddhists and perceived as illegal immigrants.
The fighting exploded around Rathedaung township, where there has been a heavy build up of Myanmar troops in recent weeks, with reports filtering out of killings by shadowy groups, army-blockaded villages and a renewed exodus of refugees heading towards neighbouring Bangladesh.
Some 20 police posts came under attack in the early hours of Aug. 25 by an estimated 150 insurgents, some carrying guns and using homemade explosives, Myanmar’s military said.
Despite years of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence. The UN’s top official in Myanmar, Renata Lok-Dessallien, called on all sides to “refrain from violence, protect civilians and restore law and order”.