Myanmar forces are conducting new “clearance operations” in northern Rakhine state where thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been languishing in internal displacement camps.
Myanmar’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing’s office said Thursday security forces have been carrying out “area clearance operations along Pyu Ma Creek” in Maungdaw township.
The operations, he claimed, was sparked after two ethnic Rakhine Buddhist men were found on the creek bank with their throats slit on December 17, Presstv Reported.
On the same day, Min said, two members of another ethnic Buddhist minority were attacked while fishing along the creek by six men “speaking Bengali language”.
Myanmar refers to Rohingya as Bengali to falsely imply they are newly-arrived immigrants from Bangladesh.
The latest violence occurred in the same area where troops waged a bloody crackdown against the Rohingya last year.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017. More than 720,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh following the crackdown.
Last week, a group advocating the cause of the persecuted Rohingya said a generation of the Muslims may be lost due to a lack of education for children and the youth at camps for the displaced in Bangladesh and Myanmar.
UN investigators want Myanmar’s top brass prosecuted for genocide for alleged abuses carried out during the expulsion.
The campaign against the Rohingya, which the UN has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, has seen mass killings, torture, and gang-rape of Muslims as well as arson attacks against their homes and farms in Rakhine.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya have been languishing in internal displacement camps since a previous wave of violence in 2012.
The Muslim minority has long been subjected to apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine, with lack of access to healthcare and freedom of movement curtailed.