UN chief "deeply concerned" at reports of civilian killings in Myanmar

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Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Violaine Martin (file)

The UN chief António Guterres expressed his deep concern on Monday over reports that civilians have been killed during security operations in Myanmar's Rakhine State in the past few days.

Insurgent attacks on government security forces at the end of last week, caused thousands of the mainly Muslim Rohingya minority to flee towards the border with Bangladesh.

Matt Wells has more.

 The UN chief condemned the attacks on Friday by insurgents in the north of the restive state, describing them as unacceptable.

 But he stressed that it was important to address the root causes of the violence, and said the government of Myanmar needed to provide "security and assistance to those in need".

 By Monday it was clear from news reports that many Rohingya civilians were fleeing towards the relative safety of Bangladesh to the north, including many women and children.

 Mr Guterres urged Bangladeshi authorities to continue their generous policy, and keep the border open to refugees, some of whom have been wounded, amongst dozens of reported deaths.

 In his statement on Monday, he called for humanitarian agencies to be granted unfettered and free access to affected communities in need of protection.  

 He said the UN stood "ready to provide all necessary support to both Myanmar and Bangladesh in that regard."  

 Violence erupted last week after the long-awaited publication of a report into the treatment of Rohingya by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, led by former UN chief Kofi Annan.

Mr Guterres said he fully supported the recommendations and urged the Government to effectively implement them.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 59"

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