UN Urges Bangladesh to Shelter Rohingya Fleeing Myanmar Violence

Bangladesh has said there are thousands more Rohingya Muslims massed on its border with Myanmar, where it has stepped up patrols and pushed back hundreds of civilians who have tried to enter.

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has blasted the Rohingya militant attacks as a bid to undermine efforts to "build peace and harmony in Rakhine state".

Than Htut Thein went on to say that soldiers had found the militants' camps in the Mayu mountain range that spans part of Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships in northern Rakhine, and that those who launched the deadly attacks on police outposts on August 25-26 did not manage to capture the stations.

A Rohingya insurgent group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, took responsibility for Thursday night's attacks on more than 25 locations, saying they were in defence of Rohingya communities that had been brutalised by government forces.

The Myanmar government called on Rohingya civilians to cooperate with the security forces and said those not related to the insurgents would not be affected.

Myanmar authorities say Rohingya "extremist terrorists" have been setting the fires during fighting with government troops, while Rohingya have blamed soldiers who have been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings.

Pope Francis plans to visit Myanmar and Bangladesh in late November and early December, two countries caught up in a crisis over the Rohingya Muslim minority.

An English language statement by the Burmese Information Ministry has put the blame on Rohingya Muslim insurgents.

Video clips circulating on social media showed that there was widespread burning of buildings and even whole neighborhoods in Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine on Sunday.

Myanmar's military responded with a massive security crackdown.

More than 100 illegal Rohingya migrants rest at an auditorium of Rattaphum district, Songkhla, in 2015.

Francis has regularly spoken out in defence of the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim group in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.

With around 400,000 Rohingya already living in squalid camps in Bangladesh, the government has instructed border guards to prevent another influx.

Myanmar's army launched an offensive in Rakhine following attacks on security posts in the state. "We can not distinguish who are insurgents or who are villagers".

The latest developments have raised fears of a repeat of last year's large scale "clearance operations" in the region which the United Nations said may have amounted to ethnic cleansing.


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