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The United Nations has called for ‘urgent measures to spare civilians’ in the Rakhine province of Northwest Myanmar in the midst of a military crackdown on Arakan Army announced by the government. The UN expressed concern over reports of intensified fighting in the Rakhine states’s Rathedaung township. The UN called upon both the parties, the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army to respect international humanitarian law. It reiterated the need for ceasefire amid the COVID 19 pandemic in the world.

The British, US and Canadian embassies in Myanmar also issued a joint statement on Saturday expressing concern over the reports of ‘clearance operations’ by Myanmar military in the Kyauktan village tract.

The UN call comes in the backdrop of the local authorities issuing a call last week to evacuate more than 40 villages for ‘clearance opertions’ by the Myanmar military. However, on Sunday, the Border Affairs Minister of Myanmar Colonel Min Than told AFP that the order was "revoked" because the army was only targeting five villages, including Kyauktan, to flush out Arakan Army (AA) insurgents. Min Than also clarified that it was not a clearance operation but a ‘military operation’.

The Arakan and Chin provinces have been witnessing intensified conflict between the Myanmar military and the separatist Arakan Army (AA) since January last year. Both Arakan and Chin provinces have been placed under internet blockade by the government.





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