United Kingdom foreign minister set to visit Rohingya refugee camp

Pauline Gross
February 12, 2018

Fresh reports of mass graves in Rakhine - and the arrest of two Reuters journalists investigating an alleged massacre - have heightened pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army, with which she has a delicate power-sharing arrangement.

The arrests were "not because of Reuters news".

Action will be taken against 10 members of Myanmar's security forces in connection with the killing of captured Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

A month after the journalists were detained, Myanmar's army issued a rare statement taking responsibility for the deaths but claimed that those killed were "Bengali terrorists", reflecting the regime's official stance that the Rohingya are interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, when attacks on security posts by rebels triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday to discuss the Southeast Asian nation's Muslim ethnic Rohingya minority and how nearly 700,000 of them can be repatriated safely after fleeing to Bangladesh to escape violence perpetrated largely by Myanmar's military.

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The account marked the first time soldiers and paramilitary police have been implicated by testimony from security personnel in arson and killings in the north of Rakhine state that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

Johnson and Aung San Suu Kyi "discussed in an open and friendly manner the latest developments in Rakhine State, including planning for the reception of returnees who fled", the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a Facebook post.

Myanmar's government has denied the allegations.

He said he also stressed the "urgent need to create the right conditions for Rohingya refugees to return to their homes in Rakhine".

The Myanmar government has faced global accusations of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign in Rakhine, with almost 700,000 Rohingya fleeing the area since last August amid reports of atrocities committed by troops and vigilante groups. Myanmar denies ethnic cleansing, and says its security forces mounted legitimate counter-insurgency clearance operations.

Suu Kyi has faced heavy global criticism for not taking a higher profile in responding to the strife.

Other reports by GizPress

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