Johnson urges Aung San Suu Kyi to help Rohingya refugees

Frederick Owens
February 12, 2018

Hundreds of thousands of the Muslim minority have fled what the United Nations has called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have fled the area since last August, carrying stories of atrocities at the hands of troops and vigilante groups in the Buddhist-majority country.

The Reuters report drew on interviews with Buddhists who confessed to torching Rohingya homes, burying bodies and killing Muslims in what they said was a frenzy of violence triggered when Rohingya insurgents attacked security posts last August.

The Reuters investigation of the Inn Din massacre was what prompted the arrest of two of the news agency's reporters.

The account was based on testimony from Buddhist villagers, security officers and relatives of the slain men.

The United Nations on Friday described the details of the Reuters report as "alarming" and joined the United States in calling for an investigation into the violence in the state.

Johnson is scheduled to visit Rakhine later today. It is looking at the problems in Rakhine state.

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On Jan 10, the military had said the 10 Rohingya men belonged to a group of 200 "terrorists" who had attacked security forces. Most Rohingya are denied citizenship and its rights.

There has been no official comment from the government following the publication of the report.

Visiting a border refugee camp, the Foreign Secretary said such a return would only be possible if a "political solution" could be found to remove the great danger from going back.

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Sunday in the capital, Naypyidaw, to discuss how hundreds of thousands of Rohingya can be safely repatriated.

"Talking just to some of my fellow foreign ministers from around the world, there is so much confusion still, and I think the role of journalism in setting the record straight is absolutely vital", Johnson said.

Almost 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, when attacks on security posts by rebels triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said may amount to genocide.

Action will be taken against 10 members of Myanmar's security forces in connection with the killing of captured Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, a government spokesman said yesterday, adding it was not related to a Reuters report on the incident.

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