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Myanmar government kills dozens of Rohingya 'attackers' over weekend

Violence hit Myanmar's Rakhine state again over the weekend. State media claims soldiers have killed about 30 "attackers" from the Muslim minority, but observers say civilians were among the casualties.

Myanmar Armee an der Grenze zu Bangladesch (AP)

Myanmar soldiers patrol the Bangladesh border in the Rakhine region on October 14, 2016.

The Myanmar military said on Monday that it had killed about 30 Rohingya Muslim militants over the weekend, according to state media. This latest bout of fighting between government forces and the Rohingya Muslim minority first flared in early October.

The government said that Sunday was the most violent day, with 28 people killed. According to an earlier statement, six people were killed on Saturday.

Rohingya rights advocates have posted videos online that claim to show that some of the victims were unarmed civilians. The government said the victims were violent attackers and that two government soldiers were also killed. Independent journalists have been blocked from entering the Rakhine region where the killings were said to have occurred, making it difficult to verify the conflicting accounts.

Myanmar Konfikte in Rakhine Region (Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)

Government sweeps of Rohingya neighborhoods in the Rakhine region of Myanmar have lead to large-scale destruction. Above, people walk through the charred remains of a market outside Maugndaw on October 27, 2016.

It is unlikely, in the wake of this weekend’s violence, that the country will find a quick resolution to the fighting, say observers and diplomats.

Tension has been high in the country's Rahkine region since 2012 when more than 200 people died in communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims. The over 1 million Rohingya Muslim residents of this region are a majority but are denied citizenship on the grounds that many are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The current violence broke out on October 9 when nine border guards were killed in coordinated attacks blamed on Rohingya militants. The government responded to the killings by conducting sweeps of local villages that observers have linked to widespread destruction of Rohingya homes. On Saturday, Human Rights Watch claimed that damage from these attack was worse than originally feared, saying that satellite footage showed 430 homes had been burned down.

ae/msh (RTE, AP)

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