Annan commission calls on Myanmar to end Rohingya restrictions

Annan commission calls on Myanmar to end Rohingya restrictions

In response to the attacks, the police and military initiated clearance operations in northern Rakhine State, displacing more than 70,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, and facing allegations by global rights groups of atrocities including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape.

Previous year a wave of similar attacks led to the deaths of nine cops, which prompted the government to launch a massive military counter-offensive.

After the October 9 attacks, the military responded with "clearance operations", raiding villages in search of culprits, arresting hundreds and causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and head across the border into Bangladesh.

The Myanmar security forces have been alleged to have committed crimes against humanity such as ethnic cleansing.

The mistreatment of the Rohingya, often described as the world's most persecuted minority, has emerged as Myanmar's most contentious human rights issue as it makes a transition from decades of military rule.

They are banned from moving freely in the country without the government's permission and are not allowed to go to university.

"They were scared. We felt pain to send them back", a Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) officer told AFP.

Annan condemned the attack and said it marked a "worrying escalation of violence".

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The militants also used sticks and swords and destroyed bridges with explosives, the army said.

The government had said earlier that 150 attackers had tried to break into an army base in remote Rakhine State.

Both the British and the US embassies also released statements denouncing the attacks, with the US Embassy adding: "We also urge all communities to ensure their rhetoric and their actions contribute to restoration of peace and stability".

One resident in Maungdaw, the main town in northern Rakhine, said gunfire could be heard throughout the night.

But the army and Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government vehemently deny allegations of widespread abuses, including rapes and murders.

Annan's recommendations followed a one-year investigation of the Rohingya situation and advised the government on long-term solutions for the violence-riven, ethnically and religiously divided state. The government said the village had been burned down but blamed the fire on the Rohingya. "More soon!" the group said on Twitter. "Military is everywhere. People are crying, mourning the dead", said Mohammed Shafi, who lives in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh near the Myanmar border.

I would like to commend the members of the police and security forces who have acted with great courage in the face of many challenges. Things are turning real bad.

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