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UN Envoy Urges Burma to Explain Cyclone 'Prison Killings'

A United Nations human rights envoy is urging Burma to investigate reports that soldiers killed a number of prison inmates during the cyclone that devastated much of the country last month.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, the U.N. Human Rights Council's new investigator for Burma, is calling on the military government Friday to respond to allegations that security troops shot and killed prisoners during the cyclone. He says Burmese authorities should conduct an open investigation to clarify the facts about the so-called "arbitrary killings."

A Thailand-based rights group says Burmese troops killed 36 prisoners and wounded many others last month in the town of Insein. The rights group says the soldiers opened fire after cyclone winds tore the roof off the prison and panicked the inmates.

Burmese officials deny there was any case where troops or security guards turned their weapons on prisoners.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.