Myanmar says 40% of Rohingya villages targeted by army are now empty


Scores of villages that were inhabited by Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority are now completely empty, a government spokesman has said. Of 471 villages targeted in “clearance operations” by the Burmese army since late August, 176 were now empty and at least 34 others partially abandoned, Zaw Htay said. The violent crackdown, launched in response to attacks by militants, has sent at least 370,000 Rohingya scrambling across the border to Bangladesh and prompted a barrage of criticism of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader.The Nobel laureate had been due to attend the UN general assembly next week, but Zaw Htay said she would now skip the event.

“The first reason is because of the Rakhine terrorist attacks,” he said. “The second reason is there are people inciting riots in some areas … The third is that we are hearing that there will be terrorist attacks and we are trying to address this issue.” The second vice-president, Henry Van Tio, instead will represent Myanmar at the UN. Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been criticised for blaming “terrorists” for what she called “a huge iceberg of misinformation” about the violence in recent weeks, will give a televised address in Myanmar next week that will cover the same topics she would have addressed at the UN. Last year, in her first speech to the UN general assembly as Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi won praise for pledging to uphold the rights of minorities.(theguardian)…[+]