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12 dead in Muslim insurgent attacks in northwest Myanmar

The attacks mark a dramatic escalation in a conflict simmering in Rakhine since last October.

FILE: Policemen in riot-hit Meiktila, central Myanmar. Picture: AFP

YANGON – At least five police and seven Rohingya Muslim insurgents were killed overnight in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the government said on Friday, after militants staged coordinated attacks on 24 police posts and tried breaking into an army base.

The attacks mark a dramatic escalation in a conflict simmering in Rakhine since last October, when similar attacks that killed nine police prompted a massive military counter-offensive beset by allegations of civilian killings, rape and arson.

The military operation then resulted in some 87,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh and the United Nations accused Myanmar’s security forces of likely committing crimes against humanity.