Myanmar is struggling to establish full democracy after 50 years of military rule, de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Wednesday following a deadly military lockdown in restive Rakhine state, AFP reports:
State media say security forces have killed at least 29 people in a military crackdown after raids on guard posts along the Bangladesh border which the government blamed on Islamist insurgents. The area is home to many Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in the overwhelmingly Buddhist country [aka Burma].
“We as a nation are struggling to make the democratic culture take root,” Suu Kyi told reporters after meeting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on her first official visit to New Delhi.
The Myanmar government had officially identified two groups – Aqa Mul Mujahidin and the Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) – as being behind the attacks, reports suggest:
However, it now says it obtained that information from suspects who have been arrested, and that their statements may not be completely accurate. But a former member of an ethnic armed group, who is familiar with the RSO’s operations at the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, believes the group has been planning such attacks for over 30 years.
Tun Tun, a director of a Myanmar civil society organisation based in Sittwe, said the “RSO recruits the young Bengali (Rohingyas) in Myanmar and gives them terrorist training.”
More than 50 Rohingya have been killed in Maungdaw since Oct. 10, and two “mass graves” have been discovered, according to confidential research obtained by TIME, which was compiled by a local Rohingya network and has not been independently verified:
The research said the military had “set fire several villages in Maungdaw including Du Dan village, Ngan Cahung village, Nga Sar Chuu village, Pyaung Pyit village.” Additionally, more than 150 shops and 90 homes were said to have been burned down in another village, Kyet Yoe Pyin, causing many civilians to flee, the research alleged.