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U2's Bono, a former Suu Kyi campaigner, says she should quit

U2 frontman Bono, a leading campaigner for Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi when she was under house arrest, has called on her to resign over the deadly campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

The singer - who championed Suu Kyi in the 2000 U2 song Walk On - said he felt "nauseated" by images of the bloodshed and refugee crisis.

"I have genuinely felt ill, because I cannot quite believe what the evidence all points to. But there is ethnic cleansing," Bono told Rolling Stone magazine in its latest issue.

"It really is happening, and she has to step down because she knows it is happening.

"She should, at the very least, be speaking out more. And if people do not listen, then resign."

The United Nations and the United States have also described Myanmar's campaign against the stateless Rohingya as ethnic cleansing.

Doctors Without Borders said at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the first month of sweeps on villages launched in response to rebel attacks. Another 655,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Suu Kyi, the winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, enjoyed wide support from celebrities as she spent most of two decades under house arrest on orders of Myanmar's military junta.

Myanmar's transition to democracy and Suu Kyi's elevation last year to de facto leader initially delighted human rights groups, but they have since been outraged by her reticence in addressing the anti-Rohingya campaign.

Some experts believe Suu Kyi has made a calculated decision not to take the political risk of speaking out as the Rohingya are widely despised in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, and in any case she does not control the military.

Bono said: "Maybe it is that she does not want to lose the country back to the military. But she already has, if the pictures are what we go by, anyway." - AFP

WORLD