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US Slaps Sanctions on Myanmar General Over Rohingya Campaign

Rohingya Muslims, who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh, wait to collect aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, Dec. 21, 2017.

The United States imposed sanctions Thursday on a Myanmar army chief accused of leading an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims.

Myanmar General Maung Maung Soe was among 52 accused human rights abusers worldwide who are targeted by U.S. Department of Treasury sanctions.

Also included was former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh, who the U.S. said created an assassination squad and directed it to kill individuals he determined to be threats to his authority.

Sanctions were also placed on Mukhtar Hamid Shah, a Pakistani surgeon. Government police believe Shah to be involved in the removal and trafficking of human organs, the Treasury Department said.

Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of Uzbekistan's late dictator, was also targeted with sanctions after being charged with abetting criminal activities of an organized crime organization with assets worth more than $1.3 billion.

The sanctions were imposed under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction foreign individuals for human rights violations and corruption, with the intent of allowing the U.S. to hold foreign individuals accountable.

"Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system. Treasury is freezing their assets and publicly denouncing the egregious acts they've committed, sending a message that there is a steep price to pay for their misdeeds," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the sanctions would help ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies and shows America's commitment to protecting human rights and fighting corruption.

"We must lead by example, and today's announcement of sanctions demonstrates the United States will continue to pursue tangible and significant consequences for those who commit serious human rights abuse and engage in corruption."

To access a list of all of those who were sanctioned, visit

Nike Ching contributed to this report.