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Amnesty Accuses Myanmar Military of New 'War Crimes' in Rakhine State

FILE - A Myanmar police officer stands watch as journalists arrive in the village of Shwe Zar, in the northern part of Myanmar's Rakhine state, Sept. 6, 2017.

Amnesty International is accusing Myanmar's military of committing new atrocities in northwestern Rakhine state, where it conducted a brutal crackdown against Rohingya Muslims less than two years ago.

The military has deployed thousands of troops to Rakhine to battle the Arakan Army rebel group, which is seeking greater autonomy for the state's ethnic Buddhists. In a report published Wednesday, the human rights watchdog listed numerous "war crimes" carried out by Myanmar troops, including extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and enforced disappearances.

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty's regional director for East and Southeast Asia, says the military's latest operations in Rakhine "show an unrepentant, unreformed and unaccountable military terrorizing civilians." But Amnesty also accused the Arakan Army group of committing abuses against civilians.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee Rakhine state into neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar's military launched a scorched earth campaign August 2017 in response to attacks on state security posts by Rohingya militants. Numerous survivor accounts of murder, rape and arson has led the United Nations to accuse Myanamar's military of carrying out the crackdown with genocidal intent.

The majority-Buddhist country considers the Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, and have denied them citizenship and other basic rights.