ypyidaw, Feb 2: The Myanmar Army on Friday conducted military drills, a day after it was accused by a top UN official of human rights violations against ethnic minorities, including the Rohingyas. Myanmar’s Army Chief General Min Aung Hlaing oversaw the drills involving the Infantry, vy and Air Force for the first time in 20 years in the Ayeyarwady region, Efe news reported.
Missile launchers, tankettes, anti-aircraft guns, helicopters and fighter planes were used in the battle simulations.
Myanmar in November had refused to allow UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Yanghee Lee to visit the country, forcing her to inspect camps along the borders with neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Thailand that have been sheltering Burmese refugees, including the Rohingyas.
Nearly 690,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state since the Army launched an offensive in August 2017, following a series of attacks on government posts by Rohingya rebels in the region.
Lee had said eyewitness accounts by the Rohingyas as well as other minorities — such as Shan, Karen and Kachin — described various human rights abuses including killings, torture, rapes and pillaging by the Myanmar Army.
Myanmar’s ethnic minorities including the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kokang, Kayah, Mon, Shan and Wa, which together represent over 30 per cent of the nearly 53 million inhabitants of the country, have been demanding greater autonomy. (IANS)