Tillerson: US holds Myanmar military leaders accountable for Rohingya crisis

Myanmar army accused of crimes against humanity

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], October 18: United States' Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday said that the US was concerned about the mass exodus of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar's Rakhine region, and held the country's military leadership accountable for the humanitarian crisis.

"We really hold the military leadership accountable for what's happening", said Tillerson, who said the United States was "extraordinarily concerned" by the situation.

Last week the United Nations had said over 11,000 Rohingyas had crossed into Bangladesh in one day after the rate of influx had slowed to 2,000 per day. "We started relocating them inside since 9.45 a.m. today", said Major Iqbal Ahmed, commander of the Border Guard Bangladesh in Ukhia.

The western region descended into chaos when Rohingya militants attacked Myanmar police posts on August 25, triggering the brutal military crackdown.

And he said Myanmar must grant fuller access to aid agencies to aid civilians and to allow the world "a fuller picture of what is going on".

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Tillerson's comments came hours after 43 Republican and Democratic lawmakers urged the Trump administration to reimpose USA travel bans on Tatmadaw leaders and prepare targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights abuses in Rakhine.

He said the reports of atrocities on Rohingya are "heartbreaking and someone has to be held to account".

"And it's up to the military leadership of Myanmar to decide, 'What direction do they want to play in the future of Myanmar?" he asserted. "It's a real test for the power-sharing government in Myanmar".

The European Union has already sanctioned the Tatmadaw over what it has called the "disproportionate use of force" by the security forces in northern Rakhine.

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