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Myanmar army chief warns against anti-military sentiment

  • Published at 10:33 am March 24th, 2018
Myanmar army chief warns against anti-military sentiment

The most powerful person in Myanmar, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has admonished anyone who tries to incite others to stand against the country’s military, The Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB) reported.

Addressing a military gathering in Kachin State, the northernmost part of Myanmar between China and India, on Monday, Myanmar army chief said, “There have been incidents of persons inciting hatred against the Tatmadaw [the official name of Myanmar military] while the latter is committed to putting an end to the armed conflicts in the country and bringing about national peace. The Tatmadaw is continuously taking steps to ensure this country enjoys an eternal peace.”

He added: “At a time when the country is moving forward to becoming a democratic state, problems cannot be resolved with arms.”

Hlaing rounded off his speech with an attack on the ethnic Rohingya community, whom he called “Bengalis.”

According to United Nations, nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar to Bangladesh. That came after rebel attacks in August sparked a crackdown, led by security forces, in Rakhine state that the UN and United States have said constitutes ethnic cleansing.

The army chief said, “The Bengalis do not have any characteristics or culture in common with the ethnicities of Myanmar. The tensions [in Rakhine State] were fuelled because the 'Bengalis' demanded citizenship.”

Rohingya trace their presence in Rakhine back centuries. But most people in Myanmar consider them to be unwanted Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. The army refers to the Rohingya as "Bengalis," and most lack citizenship.

Hlaing added that the Myanmar military has been subject to accusations from the international community who “lack knowledge about the real situation in Rakhine.” He said the military is “implementing measures related to the ‘Bengalis’ in line with the law.”

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