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US condemns Myanmar military crackdown

Myanmar military's offensive against ethnic minority groups, believed to be the biggest crackdown in a decade, has been condemned.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 10:44 IST

The United States has strongly condemned the Myanmar military's offensive against ethnic minority groups, believed to be the biggest crackdown in a decade.

Up to 11,000 people have been driven from their homes in eastern Myanmar, where some 2,700 villages have been destroyed by the ruling junta, according to non-governmental groups which also reported cases of "torture and killings."

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the Burmese regime's actions against civilians and ethnic minorities within Burma," US State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside said on Friday, using tough diplomatic language.

"The military campaign is another indication of the repressive nature of the regime," she said. Burma is the former name of Myanmar.

Reside said the attacks were resulting in "ever increasing number" of displaced Myanmarese -- within the country and across the border -- "highlighting again the threat of the regime's actions posed to the region."

Myanmar's military rulers have long been accused of gross human rights abuses, including for locking up the country's oppositon leaders, particularly democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Their latest crackdown on ethnic minorities is largely targeted against the Karens. Rights groups say it is the most serious offensive since 1997.

The Karen National Union (KNU) has been battling Yangon in one of the world's longest-running insurgencies, and claims to have 10,000 resistance fighters.