Myanmar villagers flee Rakhine State fighting

- REUTERS, YANGON/DHAKA

Feb 8, 2019-

Scores of ethnic minority villagers have crossed from western Myanmar into Bangladesh in recent days amid fighting between the Myanmar military and ethnic Rakhine rebels, Bangladesh border guards and an activist said on Thursday.

Members of 38 families said they fled their homes fearing attack from military helicopters, said Colonel Zahirul Haque Khan, the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) commander in Bandarban district where the group of 136 people are now living in shelters.

Clashes between Myanmar’s military and the insurgent Arakan Army, which mainly recruits from the Rakhine ethnic group, have displaced more than 5,000 people in parts of Rakhine and Chin states since early December.

Myanmar’s leaders have vowed to crush the rebels, who are fighting for autonomy for Rakhine State, and blocked most aid agencies from reaching the area, raising fears of more civilian suffering in an area long scarred by complex ethnic divisions.

Published: 08-02-2019 13:05

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