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Myanmar's military chief urges unity over Rohingya issue

General Min Aung Hlaing says Muslim minority have never been an ethnic group in the country

Published: September 18, 2017 09:07 AM GMT

Updated: September 18, 2017 09:08 AM GMT

Myanmar's military chief urges unity over Rohingya issue

Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar's Rakhine State arrive at Shah Porir Dwip Island in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district. (ucanews.com photo)

Myanmar's military chief Min Aung Hlaing has urged the country to unite over Rohingya issue, saying the Muslim ethnic group has never been a part of the country.

In a Facebook post, General Min Aung Hlaing criticized foreign concerns about the crisis which has resulted in more than 400,000 Rohingya fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh

"They have demanded recognition as Rohingya, which has never been an ethnic group in Myanmar," the powerful military chief wrote Sept.16.

"The Bengali issue is a national cause and we need to be united in establishing the truth," he wrote.

The Rohingya are called "Bengalis" by most people in Myanmar who view them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.  

The exodus of Rohingya to Bangladesh comes in the wake of a Myanmar military crackdown ongoing since Rohingya militants attacked  police posts and an army base in Rakhine on Aug. 25.

Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyih has been facing growing criticism from fellow Nobel laureates and the international community over her silence on the Rohingya crisis.

Suu Kyih is preparing to address the nation about the situation in Rakhine for the first time on Sept. 19.

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