World

US says Myanmar’s denial of ethnic cleansing ‘preposterous’

UNITED NATIONS The US on Tuesday described Myanmar's denials of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims as "preposterous" and called on the UN Security Council to hold the country's military accountable and pressure its leader Aung San Suu Kyi "to acknowledge these horrific acts".

US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told the Security Council: "To make sure no one contradicts the preposterous denials, they are preventing access to Rakhine to anyone or any organisation that might bear witness to their atrocities, including the Security Council."

French UN Ambassador Francois Delattre also told the Security Council that a massacre of Rohingya Muslims reported by Reuters could "constitute crimes against humanity".

But any push for UN Security Council action is likely to face resistance from council veto powers Russia and China, who both said the situation was stable and under control.

Nearly 690,000 Rohingya have fled Rakhine and crossed into Bangladesh since last August, when attacks on security posts by insurgents triggered a military crackdown the UN has said may amount to genocide.

MASS GRAVE

A Reuters report, published last week, lays out events leading up to the killing of 10 Rohingya men from Rakhine buried in a mass grave after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbours and soldiers.The journalists have been arrested.

Myanmar's Hau Do Suan said an inquiry by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, had found that 10 Rohingya militants had been arrested and executed and buried a day later.

"Actions are being taken against 16 individuals, including army and police officers and some villagers who had acted in violation of standard operating procedures and rules of engagement," he said.

On the arrested Reuters journalists, Mr Hau Do Suan said Myanmar recognises freedom of the press and the journalists were accused of "illegally possessing confidential government documents".

Britain, France, the US, the Netherlands and Kazakhstan all called for the release of the journalists during the Security Council meeting.- REUTERS

WORLD