Spokesman: Myanmar Army Kills 13 Rebels in Rakhine Clashes
Myanmar's army has killed 13 rebel fighters in the western Rakhine State, a military spokesman said on Friday, as government troops battle to contain a new insurgency in the troubled region. Fighting between security forces and the Arakan Army, an ethnic armed group seeking greater autonomy for Rakhine, has forced some 5,000 civilians to flee their homes since early December, according to the United Nations. The violence has brought fresh turmoil to the region, the site of a massive crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, and represents another setback for the Buddhist-majority country's embattled peace process. "Between Jan. 5 and 16, 2019, there were eight clashes and five landmine explosions," said Major General Tun Tun Nyi, speaking at a rare press conference in the capital, Naypyitaw. "Thirteen enemy bodies and three weapons were seized, and some soldiers died and were injured on our side," he said. He declined to elaborate on the number of government troops killed, saying it was "not necessary" to give the figures. The Arakan Army could not be immediately reached for comment, but a spokesman outside Myanmar previously told Reuters five bodies seized by the military did not belong to their fighters. The recent surge of violence began after insurgents killed 13 police and wounded nine in attacks on four police posts on Jan. 4, as Myanmar celebrated Independence Day, state media reported. Yanghee Lee, U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, voiced alarm at the "escalating violence" in Rakhine and urged both sides to show restraint and protect civilians. She condemned the Jan. 4 attack by the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military's "disproportionate response," citing reports that heavy weapons, artillery, and helicopters had been used in civilian areas, leading to civilian casualties. "I am also seriously concerned about the dangerous rhetoric... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Spokesman: Myanmar Army Kills 13 Rebels in Rakhine Clashes, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Friday, 18 January, 2019
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