25 dead in militant attacks in Myanmar

  • 25/08/2017
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo credit: Reuters

Muslim militants armed with guns and machetes have attacked Myanmar security forces at several police and border outposts in a troubled western state, with 25 deaths confirmed in the clashes so far.

The attacks that began after midnight occurred a few hours after the Rakhine Advisory Commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted its final report recommending the Myanmar government act quickly to improve economic development and social justice in Rakhine state to resolve communal violence between Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The office of the nation's leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on its Facebook page that the attacks were intended to coincide with the release of Annan's report.

Local police said the simultaneous attacks targeted at least 26 outposts of the police, border guard police and security forces in northern Rakhine. Suu Kyi's office said in a later Facebook post that eight police officers and one immigration officer had been killed and that police had discovered 16 militants' bodies.

One border guard police officer said two officers from his outpost of Taung Pasa village had been killed. "More than 150 Muslim attackers were surrounding our outpost with machetes and guns," said the officer, Htun Naing.

The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar and were the targets of inter-communal violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people - predominantly Rohingya - from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remain.

The Rakhine Commission, established in August 2016 at Suu Kyi's behest, said the situation in Rakhine state is becoming more precarious and requires a sustained and coordinated effort by civilian and military authorities.