YANGON: The United Nations (UN) has called on Myanmar to investigate reports that dozens of men, women and children were killed in attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the country’s strife-torn Rakhine state.
The UN said it had received “credible information” of a series of attacks in a remote area of Rakhine earlier this month, in the latest statement of international concern over the fresh bout of unrest in the volatile region.
Myanmar, whose sweeping political reforms have been over–shadowed by religious bloodshed, has vociferously denied civilians were killed but said a police officer was presumed dead after a clash.
“I deplore the loss of life in [the village of]Du Chee Yar Tan and call on the authorities to carry out a full, prompt and impartial investigation and ensure that victims and their families receive justice,” the UN’s human rights chief Navi Pillay said in the statement on Thursday.
The UN said it had information that eight Rohingya Muslim men were attacked and killed in the village, near the border with Bangladesh, by local Rakhine Buddhists on January 9.
Four days later, a police sergeant in the same village was captured and killed by Rohingya.
This in turn prompted village police and local Rakhine to kill at least 40 Rohingya Muslim men, women and children the same evening, the statement said, adding that the UN had passed on the information it had received to the Myanmar government.
Myanmar’s western Rakhine state remains tense after several outbreaks of inter-communal violence between Buddhist and Muslim communities since 2012 that have killed scores and displaced 140,000 people, mainly from the Rohingya minority.
The area where the latest violence is believed to have taken place is mainly populated by the stateless Rohingya, whose move–ments are strictly controlled by a heavy security presence.
No one from the government was immediately available to comment on the UN statement on Friday.