Myanmar leader defends handling of crimes against Rohingya Muslims

Press TV – Myanmar’s leader finally breaks her silence only to defend the bloody crackdown against Rakhine-based Rohingya Muslims, which the UN says amounts to ethnic cleansing, refusing to single out the military in the globally-condemned violence, which has triggered a massive of exodus of Muslim refugees to Bangladesh.

On Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi addressed the nation for the first time since August 25, when the military launched its brutal “cleansing operation” in Muslim villages across the western state of Rakhine, forcing more than 410,000 Rohingya to flee their homeland.

Suu Kyi has faced harsh international criticism amid several reports about systematic attacks by the Myanmar military and majority Buddhists against the persecuted Muslim community in Rakhine State.

In her address, however, she claimed her government does not know the “real problems” in Rakhine and “why this exodus is happening.”

There have been “allegations and counter-allegations” that need to be investigated, Suu Kyi said, adding that Myanmar did not fear “international scrutiny” over the Rohingya crisis.

The Nobel laureate also claimed there had been “no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations” in Rakhine since September 5, adding, “Nevertheless, we are concerned to hear that numbers of Muslims are fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.”

She claimed that Myanmar was ready to verify the national status of the Rohingya refugees who have fled violence over the past week.

“We are prepared to start the verification process at any time, she said referring to those who have fled to Bangladesh.

Myanmar denies full citizenship to Rohingya Muslims, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. They first arrived in Myanmar generations ago, but were stripped of their citizenship in 1982.