Myanmar says 163 killed in Rohingya attacks

At least 163 people have been killed in attacks carried out by Rohingya Muslim militants in Myanmar

At least 163 people have been killed and 91 others have gone missing over the past year in attacks carried out by Rohingya Muslim militants in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state, Myanmar government officials said.

The comments Tuesday came after the bodies of at least 45 Hindus were discovered in three mass graves earlier in the week. The government blames Muslim insurgents for the killings.

The government’s Information Committee released a statement on its Facebook page saying that from October 2016 to August 2017, at least 79 people were killed in the attacks and 37 have gone missing, including local officials, public servants and security forces. Another 84 were killed and 54 have gone missing since Aug. 25, when the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, launched attacks on at least 30 police outposts.

The government had previously said that nearly 400 alleged insurgents had been killed since Aug. 25.

Related: Myanmar activists say thousands flee airstrikes, fighting

On Monday, Myanmar officials said they had discovered at least 45 slain Hindus in three mass graves in conflict-torn northern Rakhine state. Twenty-eight were uncovered from two mass graves on Sunday and 17 were discovered in a different mass grave in the same area on Monday.

Local authorities said the 45 bodies were among about 100 Hindus missing since ARSA carried out the simultaneous attacks on the police outposts.

“We are still searching for more mass graves in that same area,” said Maj. Zayar Nyein of Border Guard Police Headquarters in Maungdaw. “I don’t know exactly why these terrorists killed that many people. The Hindu village was very much up north and communication was not that good, and that’s why security forces were not able to reach out to the area sooner.”

There was no immediate way to independently verify the government’s assertions.

Related: Trump’s planned reduction in refugees may hit Myanmar worst

A government crackdown that followed the attacks left more than 200 Rohingya Muslim villages burned and sent at least 420,000 Rohingya fleeing into Bangladesh.

Hindu families who crossed from Myanmar to Bangladesh to flee the violence said their family members and relatives were among those who were killed and buried in the shallow mass graves that were discovered this week. Hindu women who are now in refugee camps in Bangladesh told The Associated Press that the attackers killed their family members and relatives and later brought them to Bangladesh.

“Most of our neighbours are Muslims,” said Bina Sharma, a Hindu villager who survived the violence. “Masked men threatened us and asked us to give them cash and gold. Later they killed 10 of my family members. They brought us to Bangladesh and confined us in a camp. They wanted to torture and kill us, but we told them we would convert to Islam and abide by the rules, but later with the police help we were taken to a refugee camp.”

Meanwhile, a Japanese doctor who just returned from the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh said the situation there was “extraordinary.”

Masamichi Yokoe, who was a part of the Japanese Red Cross Society advanced relief team, said the rapid speed of the refugees arriving at the camps is “abnormal” and making it difficult for aid workers to assess whether sufficient aid is coming in.

Yokoe said in addition to suffering from malnutrition and poor sanitation, many of the refugees appeared to be traumatized by the violence they encountered as they fled Myanmar.

___

Associated Press journalists Dar Yasin in Kutupalong, Bangladesh, and Kaori Hitomi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Esther Htusan, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Christmas Bureau thankful of community support, generosity

The Christmas Bureau has been helping families in Sylvan Lake for more than 20 years

Public hearing for bylaw cancelled due to clerical error

The public meeting has been resheduled for Council’s next meeting, Jan. 8

UPDATE: Motorist dies near Ponoka after loose tire collides with vehicle

Ponoka RCMP seek assistance in locating vehicle belonging to the tire

Third annual event honours youth friendly business

Three Sylvan Lake businesses were recognized Dec. 11 for role in supporting youth

Toque Toss brings in warm clothing for communities

Bantam AA Tigers asked attendees at their Dec. 10 game to toss hats, mitts, socks and more on the ice

WATCH: Red Deer’s Outreach Centre begins construction with a smash

Dragon Fly Centre, a location dedicated to healing for children and youth

New fighter-jet competition to have national ‘economic interest’ requirement

Trudeau government wants to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025

The top-binged shows on Netflix in 2017

Which show did you cheat on your spouse with by watching ahead?

2017 word of the year: Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017: ‘Feminism’

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Most Read