Myanmar's military has replaced the general in charge of Rakhine state, where an army operation has forced over hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
No reason was given as to why Major General Maung Maung Soe was transferred from his post as the head of Western Command in Rakhine.
Major General Aye Lwin, deputy director of the psychological warfare and public relation department at the Ministry of Defense, said that the transfer was ordered on November 10 and Brigadier General Soe Tint Naing had been appointed as the new head of Western Command.
"I don't know the reason why he was transferred," the official said, adding, "He wasn't moved into any position at present. He has been put in reserve."
This comes as a UN official, who had toured the refugee camps in Bangladesh, on Sunday accused the military of conducting organized rape and other crimes against humanity in Rakhine.
Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, that she would raise the issue of the persecution of the Rohingya, especially sexual violence and torture, with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
"When I return to New York I will brief and raise the issue with the prosecutor and president of the ICC whether they (Myanmar's military) can be held responsible for these atrocities,” she said.
Myanmar's soldiers "systematically targeted" Rohingya Muslim women for gang rape in Rakhine state, Patten noted.
She went on to say that many of the atrocities committed by the troops "could be crimes against humanity."
The UN official said the sexual violence was a key reason behind the exodus of the Rohingya and occurred in the context of "collective persecution" of the minority.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled the predominantly-Buddhist country of Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 25, when a crackdown on the Rohingya intensified in Rakhine. The government has been engaged in a campaign against the minority, which the UN and human rights groups have called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Myanmar’s government has been denying widespread reports and eyewitness accounts of horrific violence by government soldiers and Buddhist mobs against the Rohingya in Rakhine. That violence began late last year and intensified in August.
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on the international community and world leaders to address the plight of Rohingya Muslims. The US-based rights group called on the UN to ask the ICC in The Hague to launch an investigation into the crimes.
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