71 dead in militant attacks in Myanmar

Esther Htusan

Myanmar's government says attacks by ethnic Rohingya militants on security outposts in the western state of Rakhine have left 71 people dead.

The office of the country's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, says that 59 of the dead were attackers and 12 were security officials.

A militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, took responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in defense of Rohingya communities that had been abused by government forces.

The attacks mark a significant escalation of the group's armed struggle, which began with attacks last October that killed nine border police officers.

Those attacks triggered counterinsurgency operations by the army, resulting in what human rights groups say were massive human rights violations, including killings, rapes and the burning down of many homes.