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UN chief urges Suu Kyi to halt offensive against Rohingyas

 Agencies |  2017-09-17 16:36:44.0

UN chief urges Suu Kyi to halt offensive against Rohingyas

United Nations: Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has "a last chance" to halt an Army offensive that has forced thousands of the Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

Guterres told the BBC on Saturday night that Suu Kyi had a last chance to stop the offensive. "If she does not reverse the situation now, then I think the tragedy will be absolutely horrible, and unfortunately then I don't see how this can be reversed in the future."
The Secretary General reiterated that the Rohingya should be allowed to return home.
He also said it was clear that Myanmar's military "still have the upper hand" in the country, putting pressure "to do what is being done on the ground" in Rakhine state where the crisis broke out on August 25 when Rohingya rebels attacked police checkposts and killed 12 security personnel.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is facing growing criticism over the Rohingya issue.
She will not be attending the UN General Assembly in New York which will begin from Monday and has claimed that the crisis was being distorted by a "huge iceberg of misinformation".
She said tensions were being fanned by fake news promoting the interests of terrorists.
Guterres' warning comes after Bangladesh said it was now limiting the movement of more than 400,000 Rohingya who have fled from Myanmar.
The Rohingya, a stateless mostly Muslim minority in Buddhist-majority Rakhine, have long experienced persecution in Myanmar, which says they are illegal immigrants.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh on Sunday began constructing 14,000 new shelters for the more than 400,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in neighbouring Myanmar to ensure they remain confined to an area and do not fan out across the country.
The refugees have been fleeing to Bangladesh for three weeks to escape a military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state, which the UN has said amounts to ethnic cleansing. Myanmar says the crackdown is a response to last month's deadly attacks on police by militants in the northern state and denies it is targeting civilians.
Bangladesh has been overwhelmed by the exodus and struggling to house the refugees in the shelters being built with assistance from UN and other international organisations.
"Work to construct the 14,000 temporary shelters began today at Kutupalang," a disaster management ministry spokesman told PTI, adding the army has been asked to build them in 10 days.
Kutupalang, near the southeastern Cox's Bazar city, is one of the areas where Bangladesh is setting up the shelters.
"The prime objective of the initiative is to prevent the refugees from fanning out and handle the crisis properly," disaster management and relief ministry secretary Shah Kamal said.
Myanmar's army chief has urged the country to unite over the "issue" of the Rohingya, a Muslim group he says has no roots in the country, and which his troops are accused of systematically purging.
The military says its "clearance operations" in northern Rakhine state are aimed at flushing out Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25.
But the violence has engulfed the border region and triggered an exodus.

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