Explosions rock Myanmar area near Bangladesh border amid Rohingya exodus
Two blasts rocked an area on the Myanmar side of the border with Bangladesh on Monday, accompanied by the sound of gunfire and thick black smoke, as violence that has sent nearly 90,000 Muslim Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh showed no sign of easing, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Bangladeshi border guards said a woman lost a leg from a blast about 50 meters inside Myanmar and was carried into Bangladesh to get treatment. Reuters reporters heard explosions and saw black smoke rising near a Myanmar village.
The latest violence in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people and triggered the exodus of villagers to Bangladesh.
A Rohingya refugee who went to the site of the blast - on a footpath near where civilians fleeing violence are huddled in no man’s land on the border - filmed what appeared to be a mine: a metal disc about 10 centimeters (3.94 inches) in diameter partially buried in the mud. He said he believed there were two more such devices buried in the ground.
Bangladeshi border guards said they believed the injured woman stepped on an anti-personnel mine, although that was not confirmed.
Two refugees also told Reuters they saw members of the Myanmar army around the site in the immediate period preceding the blasts which occurred around 2:25 p.m.
Reuters was unable to independently verify that the planted devices were landmines and that there was any link to the Myanmar army.
The spokesman for Myanmar’s national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Zaw Htay, said that a clarification was needed to determine “where did it explode, who can go there and who laid those land mines. Who can surely say those mines were not laid by the terrorists?”
“There are so many questions. I would like to say that it is not solid news-writing if you write based on someone talking nonsense on the side of the road,” said Zaw Htay.
The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.
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