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Myanmar detains police officers for Rohingya abuse

YANGON: Myanmar's government yesterday said it has detained several police officers over a video apparently showing Rohingya civilians being beaten.

It is a rare admission that the authorities may have carried out abuses against the Muslim minority.

The footage allegedly shows police hitting a young boy around the head as he walks to where dozens of villagers are seated in rows on the ground, hands behind their heads.

Three officers in uniform then start attacking one of the sitting villagers, beating him with a stick and kicking him in the face.

Tens of thousands of people from the persecuted ethnic group - loathed by many of Myanmar's Buddhist majority - have fled a military operation in Rakhine state launched after attacks on police posts in October.

RAPE

Bangladesh says some 50,000 Rohingya have crossed its borders over the past two months. Many have brought accounts of rape, murder and arson by Myanmar's security forces.

Their stories have galvanised protests against Myanmar's de facto leader, Ms Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused of not doing enough to help the Rohingya.

Her government has said troops are hunting militants behind deadly raids on police border posts, denying claims of atrocities and launching an information campaign against reports of abuse.

However, yesterday, the authorities have pledged to take action "against police who allegedly beat villagers during area clearance operations on Nov 5 in Kotankauk village".

Ms Suu Kyi's office named four officers who were involved in the operation including constable Zaw Myo Htike, who filmed the "selfie-style" video.

"Those who (were) initially identified were detained," it said in a statement.

"Further investigations are being carried out to expose other police officers..."

Dozens of such videos have emerged, but this is the first time the government has said it will take action. - AFP

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