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Myanmar diplomat blames Rohingya terrorists for violence

World | Oct 12, 2017 21:55
Myanmar's ambassador to Japan said today there is no ethnic cleansing or genocide of Rohingya Muslims in his country despite violence that has led a half million of them to flee the country. 
Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militant attacks with a broad crackdown in August in Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled across the border in what the United Nations has called "textbook ethnic cleansing.'' 
The ambassador, Thurain Thant Zin, denied reports of human rights abuses in Rakhine by the military and told reporters in Tokyo that the government was providing humanitarian aid to all affected by the violence. 
"To say the Myanmar military conducted those illegal acts is untrue and cannot be true,'' he said. "The Myanmar government protests the use of such terms as ethnic cleansing and genocide.''
The ambassador said the government is prepared to help resettle all who have fled. 
"Some people have said they are too afraid to return to their original homes and want a new place to live,'' he said. "We have promised the Myanmar government will provide support for reconstruction.'' 
Myanmar regards Rohingya Muslims as "Bengalis'' who migrated illegally from Bangladesh. 
Myanmar's military commander in chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, said in a statement: "It is an exaggeration to say that the number of Bengalis fleeing to Bangladesh is very large.'' He made the statement in Myanmar after he met yesterdday with U.S. Ambassador Scott Marciel. 
He also denied there was ethnic cleansing, saying the refugees "might have fled because they feel insure'' following the earlier attacks by militant Rohingya. 
Thurain Thant Zin insisted only crime and terrorist attacks were to blame, not ethnic or religious tensions. 
"Up to today, Myanmar has no ethnic or religious problems,'' he said, despite civil strife in Rahkine and elsewhere. He said the issue is one of immigration and that in most communities in the region Buddhists, Muslims and other minorities lived peacefully together. -AP


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