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US `troubled` by Myanmar unrest

AFP | Last Updated: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 06:49

Washington: The United States said on Friday it was "deeply troubled" by a new wave of unrest in western Myanmar which has left several people dead, and warned security forces against "excessive force."

"We are deeply troubled by reports of violence in the Rakhine state," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

"We`re saddened to hear reports that several people have been killed, many injured, at least one missing and hundreds of civilians displaced in violence that included looting and destruction of homes and property."

Rakhine state, close to the Bangladesh border, remains extremely tense after several outbreaks of communal bloodshed between Buddhist and Muslim communities since 2012, which have killed scores and displaced some 140,000 people, mainly from the Rohingya minority.

Details of the latest unrest were unclear, but Rohingya activists said at least two women and a child were stabbed to death in an attack on a village near the border with Bangladesh earlier this week, with possibly several dozen casualties.

"We`re particularly disturbed by reports that security forces may have used excessive force in (perpetrating) some of the violence," Psaki told reporters.

Washington was urging the authorities in Myanmar to find "durable solutions, including a path to citizenship that incorporates members of the Rohingya minority and ensuring a secure environment for displaced people to return to their homes," she added.

Myanmar`s government considers the estimated 800,000 Rohingya in the country to be foreigners while many citizens see them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and view them with hostility.

First Published: Saturday, January 18, 2014 - 06:49
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