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More than 2,600 houses in Rohingya-majority areas of Myanmar's Rakhine state burned, government says

More than 2,600 houses have been burned down in Rohingya-majority areas of Myanmar's northwest in the last week, the government said on Saturday, in one of the deadliest bouts of violence involving the Muslim minority in decades.

Myanmar officials blame Islamist group for burning homes in northern state

A Rohingya refugee woman carries a child while walking on the muddy road after travelling over the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh on Friday. (Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

More than 2,600 houses have been burned down in Rohingya-majority areas of Myanmar's northwest in the last week, the government said on Saturday, in one of the deadliest bouts of violence involving the Muslim minority in decades.

About 58,600 Rohingya have fled the violence into Bangladesh from Myanmar, according to UN refugee agency UNHCR, as aid workers there struggle to cope.

Thousands of Rohingya Muslims are pouring into Bangladesh, part of an exodus of the beleaguered ethnic group from neighbouring Myanmar that began when violence erupted there on August 25. (Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters)

Myanmar officials have blamed Islamist group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army for the burning of the homes. The group claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks on security posts last week that prompted clashes and a large army counter-offensive.

But Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh say a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army is aimed at trying to force them out.

The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar's roughly 1.1 million Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for a minority that has long complained of persecution. 

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