MAUNGDAW (Myanmar) • Eighty-nine people, including 12 security officials, were killed as Rohingya militants besieged border posts in northern Rakhine state, Myanmar's authorities said yesterday - the worst violence in months to hit the febrile zone.
The state is bisected by religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled by many Buddhists and perceived as illegal immigrants. Recent weeks have seen tensions surge with near-daily killings by shadowy groups operating in remote villages, while Myanmar's army has poured more troops into the area, sparking a renewed exodus of refugees.
Early yesterday, more than 20 police posts came under attack by an estimated 150 insurgents, some carrying guns and using homemade explosives, Myanmar's military said.
"Fighting is ongoing at police posts in Kyar Gaung Taung and Nat Chaung villages. The military and police members are fighting back together against extremist Bengali terrorists."
"Bengali terrorists" is the state's description of the Rohingya militants.
The office of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said 12 security officials had been killed alongside 77 militants.
AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE