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UN human rights office decries beheadings, other violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state

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UN human rights office decries beheadings, other violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state
News

News

UN human rights office decries beheadings, other violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state

2024-05-24 23:17 Last Updated At:23:20

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. human rights office warned Friday of “frightening and disturbing reports” about the impact of new violence in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine, pointing to new attacks on Rohingya civilians by the military and an ethnic armed group fighting it.

Spokesperson Liz Throssell of the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights cited the burning of the town of Buthidaung, as well as air strikes, reports of shootings at unarmed fleeing villagers, beheadings and disappearances as part of the violence in the northern part of Rakhine in recent weeks.

“We are receiving frightening and disturbing reports from northern Rakhine state in Myanmar of the impacts of the conflict on civilian lives and property," she told a regular briefing in Geneva. “Some of the most serious allegations concern incidents of killing of Rohingya civilians and the burning of their property.”

She said tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced in recent days amid fighting in Buthidaung, citing evidence from satellite images, testimonies and online video indicating that the town has been largely burned. A battle begun in neighboring Maungdaw presented “clear and present risks of a serious expansion of violence," she added.

Throssell denounced signs of new attacks on Rohingya civilians by Myanmar's military and the Arakan Army, the well-armed military wing of the Rakhine ethnic minority movement that seeks autonomy from the central government.

She pointed to one survivor's account about dozens of dead bodies as he fled Buthidaung, while others spoke of abuse and extortion from the Arakan Army forces.

A statement issued online late Friday by the United League of Arakan, the political arm of the Arakan Army, said civilians in the battle zone had taken refuge in areas controlled by its forces, adding that it "has been doing its utmost to safeguard and care for these Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as valued citizens, irrespective of race or religion.”

However, Rohingya activists have blamed the Arakan Army for most of the current destruction. The ethnic Rakhine nationalists whose cause the armed group espouses have long expressed antipathy towards the Rohingya.

The fighting comes in the context of a civil war in Myanmar that began after the army ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, leading to an armed resistance opposing military rule.

The pro-democracy fighters are allied with several of the ethnic minority groups that have been fighting for greater autonomy for decades, and have well-trained military forces.

The Arakan Army had a loose cease-fire with the military government until last October, when it joined with two other ethnic armed groups to capture territory in northeastern Myanmar.

State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on Tuesday said the United States was “deeply troubled” by reports of increased violence in Rakhine state, and called on the military and armed groups to protect civilians and allow humanitarian access.

The Rohingya were the targets of a brutal counterinsurgency campaign incorporating rape and murder that saw an estimated 740,000 flee to neighboring Bangladesh as their villages were burned down by government troops in 2017.

They have lived in Myanmar for generations, but they are widely regarded by many in the country’s Buddhist majority, including members of the Rakhine minority, as having illegally migrated from Bangladesh. The Rohingya face a great amount of prejudice and are generally denied citizenship and other basic rights.

FILE - A Myanmar police officer stands on a road as they provide security at a checkpoint in Buthidaung, Rakhine State, western Myanmar on May 28, 2017. The U.N. human rights office warned Friday May 24, 2024 of “frightening and disturbing reports” about the impact of new violence in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, pointing to new attacks on Rohingya civilians by the military and an ethnic armed group fighting it. (AP Photo, File)

FILE - A Myanmar police officer stands on a road as they provide security at a checkpoint in Buthidaung, Rakhine State, western Myanmar on May 28, 2017. The U.N. human rights office warned Friday May 24, 2024 of “frightening and disturbing reports” about the impact of new violence in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state, pointing to new attacks on Rohingya civilians by the military and an ethnic armed group fighting it. (AP Photo, File)

TORONTO (AP) — Mark Canha and Wenceel Pérez hit two-run homers, Jack Flaherty struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings to win for the sixth time in seven starts and the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night for their third straight victory and ninth in 11.

All-Star first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and outfielder George Springer had two-run homers for Toronto. The Blue Jays lost for the third time in four games. They’re 12-18 in one-run outcomes.

Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette left after six innings because of a strained right calf.

The two-time All-Star and two-time AL hits leader lined out to right field to end the sixth and was injured running to first base, hopping down the line in pain.

“He’s going to get an MRI tomorrow and go from there,” manager John Schneider said. “It sucks for him and for us.”

Leo Jiménez replaced Bichette in the top of the seventh.

Flaherty retired the first 13 batters in order before Bichette singled in the fifth. Daulton Varsho followed with a bloop hit but Flaherty struck out Alejandro Kirk and Ernie Clement.

Flaherty (7-5) allowed two runs and three hits. He’s 6-1 since a May 23 home loss to Toronto.

“It’s hard to argue it’s not a great outing given all the swings and misses he got,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “Five-plus scoreless before the last swing of his outing. We’ll take that every time and feel good about it.”

Guerrero chased Flaherty with a 445-foot drive in the sixth that had an exit velocity of 117.5 mph. The homer was Guerrero’s 15th.

Flaherty is 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in four career starts against Toronto.

“It seems like every time out he’s capable of that,” Canha said. “He’s been the rock for us. He’s one of those guys where you’re like. ‘Man, where would we be without him?’”

Tigers right-hander Will Vest got one out in the sixth, and Andrew Chafin worked the seventh.

Springer made it 5-4 with a homer off right-hander Beau Brieske in the eighth, his 11th. Jason Foley replaced Briekse and stranded the tying run at second base.

Left-hander Tyler Holton pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his third save in three chances.

“We got the outs when we needed them,” Hinch said.

Detroit’s Matt Vierling doubled to begin the fourth and scored on Riley Greene’s single. Canha followed with a home run off right-hander and former Oakland teammate Chris Bassitt (8-8), his seventh.

Canha said Bassitt had a question for him the next time he came to the plate.

“He said something like ‘How’d you hit that pitch?’ really loud,” Canha said. “I just chuckled. He’s a great pitcher. I’m just happy to get my old buddy, get him once.”

Canha’s homer was his first since a May 11 win against Houston.

“You have those droughts every once in a while,” Canha said. “It’s nice to finally get one.”

Cahna left last Saturday’s win over the Dodgers because of a sore right wrist and didn’t play Sunday’ in the final game before the All-Star break.

Pérez chased Bassitt with a two-out drive in the seventh. The homer was Pérez’s sixth.

“He just caught the bottom of the ball and the ball flew,” Hinch said.

Bassitt allowed five runs and seven hits.

ROSTER MOVES

Blue Jays: Toronto activated RHP Yimi García (elbow) off the 15-day injured list and recalled RHP Erik Swanson from Triple-A Buffalo. RHP Zach Pop was optioned to Triple-A.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: INF Javier Báez (lower back) is expected to return to the lineup Saturday, Hinch said. Báez left last Saturday’s win over the Dodgers, his sixth game after being on the injured list for a month.

Blue Jays: Former NL MVP Joey Votto was scratched from a scheduled rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo after reinjuring his right ankle during pregame warmups. … Bichette returned from the injured list June 24 after missing nine games because of a sore right calf. He left a July 10 game at San Francisco because of calf soreness and sat out the final four games before the All-Star break.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-8, 4.42 ERA) was scheduled to start against Tigers RHP Reese Olson (4-8, 3.30) on Saturday.

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Detroit Tigers catcher Carson Kelly asks for a replacement PitchCom device after his stopped in first-inning baseball game action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers catcher Carson Kelly asks for a replacement PitchCom device after his stopped in first-inning baseball game action against the Toronto Blue Jays in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt throws to a Detroit Tigers batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt throws to a Detroit Tigers batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers shortstop Zach McKinstry throws to first base to put out Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette in second-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers shortstop Zach McKinstry throws to first base to put out Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette in second-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Spencer Horwitz throws to first base to put out Detroit Tigers' Riley Greene in second-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Spencer Horwitz throws to first base to put out Detroit Tigers' Riley Greene in second-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, center bottom, warms up in the bullpen before taking on the Detroit Tigers in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, center bottom, warms up in the bullpen before taking on the Detroit Tigers in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr., left, throws his bat toward his team's dugout after hitting a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during first-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr., left, throws his bat toward his team's dugout after hitting a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during first-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hits a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during sixth-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hits a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during sixth-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) throws his bat toward his team's dugout after hitting a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during sixth-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) throws his bat toward his team's dugout after hitting a two-run home run, also scoring Spencer Horwitz, during sixth-inning baseball game action against the Detroit Tigers in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter in first-inning baseball game action in Toronto, Friday, July 19, 2024. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)

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