NAYPYIDAW - Myanmar leader, Aung San Suu Kyi has blamed “terrorists” for “a huge iceberg of misinformation” about violence in western Myanmar that has forced more than 140,000 Rohingya refugees into neighbouring Bangladesh.
The de-facto leader of Myanmar is under growing pressure to halt “clearance operations” by security forces in Rakhine state that the United Nations (UN) secretary-general has warned could verge on ethnic cleansing.
A statement posted by Aung San Suu Kyi’s office to Facebook on Wednesday said she had spoken with Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the crisis that he has repeatedly called a “genocide”.
She said the government “had already started defending all the people in Rakhine in the best way possible and expressed that there should be no misinformation to create trouble between the two countries”.
She referred to “fake news photographs” posted on Twitter by Turkey’s deputy prime minister that purported to show dead Rohingya in Myanmar, but in fact were taken elsewhere.
“That kind of fake information which was inflicted on the deputy prime minister was simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh has summoned the Myanmar ambassador in Dhaka to protest against the planting of landmines along the border between the two countries. It comes amid growing tensions over the huge influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar.
A senior official in Bangladesh said they believed Myanmar government forces were planting the landmines to stop the Rohingya returning to their villages. But a Myanmar military source said no landmines had been planted recently.
The BBC's reporter, Sanjoy Majumder, who is on the Bangladeshi side of the border, said there had been at least three injuries caused by landmines this week.
When asked whether Bangladesh had lodged a complaint about the mines, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said "yes" but did not elaborate further.
The UN has said the number of Rohingya refugees crossing from Myanmar into Bangladesh has surged since 25 August. It says more than 146,000 Rohingya have fled violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, in the northwest of the country.