Burma pledges “no restrictions” on journalists visiting the troubled state of Arakan this week, in the first official trip to include foreign reporters to mostly Rohingya Muslim villages affected by violence since October.
Bangladesh has evacuated at least 350,000 people as a cyclone lashed coastal areas on Tuesday, officials said, causing havoc in refugee camps set up for Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in neighbouring Burma.
The Buddhist monk renowned for his anti-Muslim sermons travelled to Arakan State on Wednesday, an official said, sparking concern over religious tensions in the region, where more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims live.
Aung San Suu Kyi denies security forces have carried out ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, speaking to the BBC after the UN rights council agreed to investigate allegations of rape, murder and torture against the army.
Since security forces swept into their villages late last year, around 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled across the border to Bangladesh. Many now fear that authorities in Burma could make their displacement permanent.
Rohingya refugees who fled violence in Burma have told how government forces gang-raped women, slit people’s throats and threw children into burning houses, a UN envoy has said after a mission to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Burma’s police court has sentenced three senior officers to prison for negligence after Rohingya insurgents overran three border posts in October, killing nine policemen, a government official said on Friday.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister called on the international community on Monday to address Burma’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority, tens of thousands of whom have fled in recent months to Bangladesh from its mainly Buddhist neighbour.
Two members of Burma’s security forces were injured in a clash with militants on the troubled Arakan State border with Bangladesh, the State Counsellor’s office said, casting doubt on the government’s claim that the region had stabilised.
The military has ended a clearance operation in Burma’s troubled Arakan State, government officials said, ending a four-month sweep that the United Nations said may amount to crimes against humanity and possibly ethnic cleansing.
Burma is to investigate whether police have committed abuses against Rohingya Muslims, the government has said, after officials promised that allegations of atrocities against members of the Muslim minority would be looked into.
Locals in seven townships across Arakan State staged protests on Friday against a new radio station broadcasting in Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships and providing Rohingya-language programming, which the protesters view as legitimising the Rohingya population.
Bangladesh is working with Burmese security forces to stop Rohingya Muslim militants crossing their shared border, but will continue to allow women, children and the elderly to seek shelter there, a top government official said.
Burma’s government remains “in denial” about alleged atrocities by its military against minority Rohingya Muslims, officials present at a meeting in Bangladesh said, despite leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s pledge to investigate the findings of a devastating UN report.
Bangladesh is determined to relocate Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Burma to a Bay of Bengal island that critics say is unliveable, a Bangladeshi minister said, adding that the move is temporary and Burma will ultimately have to take them back.
Bangladesh has resurrected a plan to relocate thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Arakan State to a flooded island in the Bay of Bengal to prevent them from “intermingling” with Bangladeshi citizens.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called on Burma on Thursday to stop all discrimination and attacks on Rohingya Muslims, and urged the world’s Islamic countries to act to end an unfolding “humanitarian tragedy.”
Burma faces a growing danger of attacks by foreign supporters of the Islamic State (IS) recruited from Southeast Asian networks in support of persecuted Rohingya Muslims, Malaysia’s top counter-terrorism official has said.