YANGON • Myanmar security forces have killed three people in raids on "terrorist" training camps run by Rohingya Muslim militants in the north of Rakhine state, state media reported yesterday.
Guns, ammunition and gunpowder were found at the camps in the Mayu mountains, part of a remote strip of land on the north-west border that is mainly home to the persecuted Rohingya minority.
More than 70,000 Rohingya have fled the area to Bangladesh since October, when Myanmar security forces launched a brutal crackdown in response to militant attacks on police posts.
Rohingya escapees have told harrowing accounts of security forces slaughtering babies, burning people alive and staging gang rapes - abuses that United Nations investigators said may amount to crimes against humanity. Myanmar denies the claims, and says troops were conducting valid clearance operations to crush a Rohingya insurgency. It has refused to allow in a UN fact-finding mission.
The training camps found this week were run by the same group that carried out the October raids that killed nine policemen, according to state media.
The report said security forces killed three "armed attackers in self-defence" during the two-day clearance operation, which was launched after they received a tip-off that the militants were training inside a secret tunnel at night.
The militants, called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), were subsidised by "foreign monetary aid", said a government report. It blamed the "terrorists" for a recent spate of murders of villagers and local community leaders that has seen 34 people killed.
Arsa has denied killing any civilians, saying it is fighting for the political rights of the Rohingya.