At Least 150 Rohingya Muslims Killed in Myanmar Rakhine State

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Up to 150 members of the Rohingya Muslims were killed by Myanmar’s security forces in Western state of Rakhine, said advocates of the Rohingya community.

Ko Ko Linn of the Arakan Rohingya National Organization said by phone that according to villagers, at least 150 people have been killed by security forces since Saturday, Asian Correspondent reported.

He said that the government sought to cover up the killings by barring the media and aid groups from the area.

“The reason why the international news agencies and aid groups are not allowed to go there is because the military is trying to cover up what they are doing there, the killings and other things,” Ko Ko Linn said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

On Tuesday, the government acknowledged the deaths of 69 “violent attackers” and 17 members of the security forces. The attackers were not identified, but the army has aligned with Rakhine Buddhists against the Rohingya.

The government said the attackers burned down hundreds of homes, but rights groups blame the army for the actions.

Tensions have been high in Rakhine since fighting in 2012 between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims. Last month, nine police were killed in attacks on guard posts, prompting a government crackdown. Human rights groups have accused government forces of burning down Rohingya villages.

The violence and persecution of Rohingya threatens to overshadow Myanmar’s historic transition to civilian rule.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan, who heads a commission appointed by Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to investigate the cause of tensions in Rakhine.

“As chair of the Rakhine Advisory Commission, I wish to express my deep concern over the recent violence in Northern Rakhine state, which is plunging the state into renewed instability and creating new displacement,” Annan said in a statement Tuesday.

“All communities must renounce violence and I urge the security services to act in full compliance with the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reiterated its call on the government to allow human rights monitors and independent journalists prompt and unfettered access to the restive state to investigate alleged widespread property destruction and other rights abuses.

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