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Burmese Army Opens Inquiry into Atrocities Against Rohingyas

Flames engulf a house in Gawdu Zara village, northern Rakhine state, Myanmar, Sept. 7, 2017. Security forces and allied mobs have burned down thousands of homes in Northern Rakhine state, where the vast majority of the country's 1.1 million Muslim Rohingyas lived.

Army officials in Myanmar say they have opened an internal probe into the behavior of Burmese troops in Rahkine State, where Myanmar military forces are accused of committing widespread atrocities

against members of the Muslim Rohingya minority. Thousands have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since August.

It was not immediately clear, however, when the military will release its findings.

"We will officially release the report (when) we have had comprehensive information," military officials said in a statement.

Amid the deepening humanitarian crisis, a former U.N. secretary-general is making a plea for fleeing Muslim Rohingyas to be allowed to return home to Rakhine State.

Kofi Annan, who recently headed a commission on the Myanmar crisis, told a private meeting of the Security Council Friday the Rohingyas "need assistance to get their homes back," and not be sent to refugee camps.

Violence erupted between Rohingya and Myanmar's military in Rakhine state August 25th, when a group of Rohingya militants attacked dozens of police posts and an army base in what militants said was an effort to protect members of their ethnic minority from persecution.

About 400 people have been killed in subsequent clashes. Satellite images released by rights group Amnesty International have shown entire Rohingya villages burned.

The fleeing Rohingya are living in refugee camps in nearby Bangladesh. Annan said Myanmar's government should "create conditions that will allow the refugees to return with dignity and with a sense of security."

The U.N. and a number of countries have called the situation that has caused so many to leave their homes in Myanmar "ethnic cleansing."

Myanmar denies the charges, blaming the situation on "terrorism."