28 People Killed in New Clashes in Myanmar’s Rakhine State

FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 file photo, Myanmar police officers patrol along the border fence between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. Myanmar's government on Sunday, Nov. 13, reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)
FILE – In this Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 file photo, Myanmar police officers patrol along the border fence between Myanmar and Bangladesh in Maungdaw, Rakhine State, Myanmar. Myanmar’s government on Sunday, Nov. 13, reported fierce fighting in the western state of Rakhine, where the army has been conducting counterinsurgency operations since nine police officers were killed in attacks on posts along the border with Bangladesh last month. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP Photo/Thein Zaw, File)

Myanmar’s military says at least 28 people have been killed during renewed clashes in western Rakhine state.

The announcement on Sunday came the same day a Human Rights Watch report said satellite images appeared to show three Muslim Rohingya villages had been “burned to the ground” in recent weeks.

In a statement published online, the military said 22 attackers armed with swords were killed near Dar Gyi Zar village after they charged at soldiers, adding another six attackers were killed during clashes elsewhere in the restive state.

Authorities have heavily restricted access to the area, which came under deadly attack last month, making it difficult to independently verify government reports or accusations of army abuse.

Northern Rakhine, which is home to the Muslim Rohingya minority and borders Bangladesh, has been under military lockdown ever since surprise raids on border posts left nine police dead last month.

Soldiers have killed several dozen people and arrested scores in their hunt for the attackers, who the government said are radicalised Rohingya people with links to foreign armed groups.

On Saturday, the military claimed two soldiers and six attackers were killed in an ambush, after helicopter gunships were deployed.

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SOURCE: Al Jazeera