Monday, January 2, 2017

Myanmar Arrests Officers Over Rohingya Abuse

Myanmar arrested several police officers Monday who had been filmed beating Rohingya civilians, a rare government acknowledgement of abuse against the Muslim minority.

Though multiple videos have circulated documenting police abuse in the Rakhine state, which has been largely closed to journalists and aid workers for months, this is the first time the government has confirmed the videos and promised to take action.

The officers were reportedly questioning residents in the village of Kotankauk in November while investigating a tip about the gunmen who attacked a border post in October, killing nine officers.

The video shows several police officers beating and kicking two villagers, including a young boy who was hit in the head.

“Those who [were] initially identified were detained,” read a statement released by Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s office Monday. “Further investigations are being carried out to expose other police officers who beat villagers in the operation.”

Following the October attack, the military moved on the territory in full force, arresting more than 500 people and killing at least 100. At least six soldiers have died.

Since the operation started, it has been tainted by dozens of allegations of sexual assault and other abuses.The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have not been receiving normal assistance and close to 22,000 Rohingya have fled into nearby Bangladesh. In addition, security forces have allegedly razed more than 1,500 buildings, according to interviews and satellite imagery released by Human Rights Watch this week.

The government has vehemently denied allegations of rape and claimed residents burned their own houses down in an act of conflict propaganda.

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