Australian gov’t freezes army officers’ assets over alleged atrocities

Rohingya children in a rural village in Buthidaung Township, northern Rakhine State, in March 2016. Photo: Amnesty International

Australia’s government yesterday unveiled sanctions against five officers in Myanmar’s powerful military who are accused of overseeing barbaric violence against members of the Rohingya ethnic group.

Following similar actions by the US and the European Union, Australia announced it would freeze the assets of officers including a lieutenant general who commanded a special operations group believed to be behind atrocities.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the officers — Aung Kyaw Zaw, Maung Maung Soe, Aung Aung, Than Oo and Khin Maung Soe — were “responsible for human rights violations committed by units under their command.”

The five, some of whom are believed to have since stepped down from their posts, will also be banned from traveling to Australia.

About 700,000 Rohingya have been driven from their homes in Rakhine state, in southwest Myanmar, since 2016.

The campaign has been marked by numerous extrajudicial killings, mass rape and the burning of villages by security forces.

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