Myanmar military says death toll in clashes almost 400

TEKNAF, Bangladesh (AP) — Myanmar's military said today almost 400 people died in recent violence in the western state of Rakhine triggered by attacks on security forces by insurgents from the Rohingya ethnic minority.

Both sides exchanged charges of atrocities, as thousands of Rohingya fled across the border to Bangladesh.

The death toll, posted on the Facebook page of the country's military commander, is a sharp increase over the previously reported number of just over 100. The statement said all but 29 of the 399 dead were insurgents, whom it described as terrorists.

The statement said there had been 90 armed clashes, including an initial 30 attacks by insurgents on Aug. 25, making the combat more extensive than previously announced.

The army, responding to the Aug. 25 attacks, launched what it called clearance operations against the insurgents.

Advocates for the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, say security forces and vigilantes attacked and burned Rohingya villages, shooting civilians and causing others to flee. Hundreds of civilians were killed, they say. They have posted photos, videos and details on social media that they say serve as evidence.

The government says it is the insurgents who have been burning homes and killing members of the Buddhist ethnic Rakhine community.

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