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US official says abuses appear ‘normal’ in Myanmar crackdown


WASHINGTON: (Web Desk) Abuses appear ‘‘normal and allowed’’ in Myanmar’s response to an armed uprising by Rohingya Muslims, a senior US official said in an interview, casting a pall over one of President Obama’s legacy foreign policy achievements.

Obama and his advisers have long held up the former pariah nation’s US-backed shift from military rule as a breakthrough for American interests and democratic values in Southeast Asia. But the situation in strife-hit Rakhine state makes the transition no straightforward success story.

Rakhine has been largely closed off to foreigners, including aid workers, since a deadly insurgent attack against police in October. Subsequent ‘‘clearance operations,’’ led by the military and reminiscent of its decades of junta rule, have left at least dozens dead. Tens of thousands of Rohingya have escaped to neighboring Bangladesh.

A Myanmar government-appointed commission, led by a former general, this week said there was insufficient evidence so far to support allegations of rape and killings by security forces that have been made by Rohingya villagers fleeing northern Rakhine, which remains off-limits to journalists.

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