Myanmar carrying out air strikes in Rakhine: UN

DM Monitoring

GENEVA: The Myanmar army is carrying out “almost daily airstrikes and shelling” in the restive Rakhine and Chin states, where at least 32 civilians have been killed since March 23, the United Nations human rights office said on Friday.
“It is very difficult to get precise information from Rakhine on whether the reported casualties are the result of targeting or were caught in the crossfire between the Arakan army and Myanmar army,” spokesman Rupert Colville told a Geneva news briefing in response to a question. Myanmar military spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment on the report. The Arakan Army, an insurgent group seeking greater autonomy for the region, has been battling government troops for more than a year. Myanmar will free almost 25,000 prisoners in an amnesty to mark the traditional New Year, the president’s office said on Friday, its largest mass pardon in recent years. President Win Myint said 24,896 people jailed across the country, including 87 foreigners, would be freed unconditionally “to bring delights to the citizens of Myanmar and taking into consideration humanitarian concerns”.
The president gave no details of the crimes the prisoners were convicted of. ZawZaw, a spokesman for the prisons department, told Reuters by telephone the large number being released was not linked to concern about the coronavirus. Myanmar has reported 85 cases and four deaths from the coronavirus, which emerged in neighboring China late last year and has spread around the world.