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12 dead in clashes in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine

Twelve people have died in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state in clashes between armed men and troops, state media reported on Wednesday, in a sharp escalation of violence in the restive region.

Four soldiers and one attacker were killed on Tuesday when hundreds of men wielding pistols and swords assailed troops in Pyaungpit, Maungdaw township, an area populated mainly by Muslim Rohingya.

Troops also gave a toll of seven dead after fighting in the nearby village of Taung Paing Nyar, updating an earlier figure.

“After the incident, troops found seven dead bodies,” the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar reported. 

The military has been scouring the region, not far from the border with Bangladesh, after nine police officers were killed on Sunday in coordinated attacks on three border posts.

The unrest has raised the spectre of a repeat of 2012, when sectarian violence ripped through Rakhine, killing more than 100 people and driving tens of thousands of Rohingya into displacement camps.

The UN’s special advisor on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, urged troops and residents to exercise restraint at what he termed a “delicate juncture” for the state.

He also called on civilians to “not be provoked into any kind of response by targeting other communities or religious groups”. 
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