Myanmar targets civilians with helicopters, 7 dead: UN

Myanmar targets civilians with helicopters, 7 dead: UN

GENEVA (Rahnuma) : Myanmar military has targeted civilians in Rakhine state, killing seven of them and injuring 18 others, a UN official said on Friday.

In a media briefing, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN Human Rights Office, said: “On the evening of 3 April, two military helicopters flew over Hpon Nyo Leik village tract in south Buthidaung township and fired on civilians tending cows and paddy fields, killing at least seven civilians and injuring 18 others”.

Shamdasani said that there are report that the fighting has intensified in Buthidaung, Rathedaung, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U, and Sittwe townships in Rakhine State in recent weeks, leading to the displacement of over 20,000 civilians.

“We are deeply disturbed by the intensification of the conflict in Rakhine State in recent weeks, and condemn what appear to be indiscriminate attacks and attacks directed at civilians by the Myanmar military and armed fighters,” she added.

According to the reports, the spokeswoman said, some 4,000 Rohingya were displaced from March 25-30 from the villages along the road connecting Buthidaung and Rathedaung towns.

The spokeswoman said the Myanmar military’s attack against its own civilians “may constitute war crimes”.

“The consequences of impunity will continue to be deadly,” she added.

Persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience”.

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.

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