Business Standard

Myanmar Army shelling villages, blocking aid: Amnesty

IANS  |  Yangon 

The has bombed villages and are blocking civilians from accessing and humanitarian assistance amid a crackdown targeting rebels in the troubled Rakhine State, the International said on Monday.

The non-profit, in its latest report, said soldiers were also using "vague and repressive laws" to detain civilians as part of the offensive that began on January 4 when rebels raided police stations and killed 13 officers, reports news.

At least 5,200 people, according to the UN, have been displaced by the fighting after the launched the operation to annihilate insurgents, described as terrorists by the government.

"These latest operations are yet another reminder that the military operates without any regard for human Shelling inhabited villages and withholding supplies are unjustifiable under any circumstances," said Tirana Hassan, Director of Crisis Response at International.

Hassan accused the authorities of "deliberately playing with the lives and livelihoods of civilians".

Authorities have established restrictions on the entry of humanitarian aid from international agencies, except the and the UN's World Programme, to five districts where clashes are ongoing, according to the group.

A witness told that the Army was also imposing restrictions on the purchase and sale of essential commodities such as rice.

Amnesty said at least 26 people have been arrested for illegal association with the Arakan Army, a crime punishable by harsh prison sentences.

The was formed in 2009 to achieve greater autonomy for the Buddhist minority in

is home to the Rohingya, a Muslim-majority community, who have been denied citizenship as the government calls them illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

More than 723,000 Rohingya have fled to since August 2017 following an Army offensive.

Rakhine State, which occupies a long coastal strip in western Myanmar, is an area with rich natural resources and a key geostrategic location, but with also one of the highest rates of poverty in the country.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 12:54 IST