Rohingya refugees wait roadside for aid at Thaingkhali makeshift
refugee camp in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017.
YANGON (Reuters) Myanmar said on Friday a visiting U.S. official
would not be allowed to go to a region where violence has triggered
an exodus of nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims that the United
Nations has branded a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
The Rohingya have fled from western Rakhine state to neighboring
Bangladesh to escape a military offensive that has raised questions
about Myanmars transition to civilian rule under the leadership of
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy will
voice Washingtons concerns about the Rohingya and press for greater
access to the conflict area for humanitarian workers, the State
Myanmar officials said he would meet government leaders in the
capital, Naypyitaw, and attend an address to the nation by Suu Kyi
He would also visit Sittwe, the state capital, and meet the
governor of Rakhine, the state government secretary, Tin Maung Swe,
told Reuters, but the north of the state, where the conflict
erupted on Aug. 25 would be off limits.
Not allowed, Tin Maung Swe said, when asked if Murphy would be
going to Maungdaw district, at the heart of the strife that began
when Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army camp,
killing a dozen people.
While nearly 400,000 refugees have poured across the border into
Bangladesh, fears have also been growing of a humanitarian crisis
on the Myanmar side, but access for aid workers and reporters has
been severely restricted.
Myanmar insisted on Friday it was not barring aid workers but a
government spokesman said authorities on the ground might have
concerns over security.
Rights monitors and fleeing Rohingya say the army and Rakhine
Buddhist vigilantes have mounted a campaign of arson aimed at
driving out the Muslim population.
A Reuters photographer on the Bangladesh side of the border said
he could see huge banks of dark smoke billowing up over Myanmar
territory on Friday, while international aid organizations said the
refugees kept coming.
Theres really no sign that this flow of people is going to dry
up, Chris Lom of the International Organisation for Migration, said
from the Bangladeshi border district of Coxs Bazar.
There are still, we believe, thousands of people waiting to take
boats across to Coxs Bazar.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security
Council have urged Myanmar to end the violence, which he said