Daw Suu delays Indonesia trip amid Rakhine crisis

By AFP

YANGON — State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday postponed a visit to Indonesia after protests there over her country’s bloody crackdown on the Rohingya community in northern Rakhine State and a thwarted plot to attack Myanmar’s Jakarta embassy.

Thousands of desperate Rohingya have flooded over the border from Rakhine into Bangladesh in the past week, making horrifying claims of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of security forces.

Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a growing international backlash for what a UN official has said amounts to a campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Her government has denied the allegations, saying the army is hunting “terrorists” behind deadly raids on police posts in Maungdaw District last month.

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Foreign journalists and independent investigators have been banned from verifying what is happening in Maungdaw District.

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets last week in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, calling for the government to break off diplomatic ties with Myanmar.

On Sunday Indonesian police said they had arrested a third Islamic State-linked militant accused of plotting to bomb Myanmar’s embassy in Jakarta.

Aung San Suu Kyi had been due to visit Indonesia after a trip to Singapore from November 30-December 2, but a senior foreign ministry official said the trip had been delayed.

“We postponed the Indonesia trip because of the problems in Rakhine and also northern Shan State” where the army is fighting ethnic insurgents, said deputy director general Daw Aye Aye Soe.

“It will be arranged in the near future,” she told AFP, denying that the delay was due to security concerns.

Some 30,000 Rohingya have fled their homes in Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship, healthcare and education and have their movements severely restricted.

Dhaka says thousands more are massed on the border but it has refused urgent international appeals to let them in, instead calling on Myanmar to do more to stop people fleeing.

On Monday border guards pushed back eight more boatloads of Rohingya who were attempting to cross the Naf River to southern Bangladesh.

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