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Myanmar Defends Military Build-up On Bangladesh Border


Myanmar troops want Rohingya to leave border region, drawing sharp response from Bangladesh which hosts most refugees.


Myanmar on Friday defended deployment of its troops near the Bangladesh border, where thousands of Rohingya refugees have taken shelter, calling it an "anti-terrorism operation".


The move has drawn criticism from Bangladesh, which summoned Myanmar's ambassador on Thursday, while the UN refugee agency raised their concerns at the military build-up.


Some 200 troops were deployed to the border on Thursday, close to a nearby strip of land between Myanmar and Bangladesh that is home to makeshift camps housing some 6,000 Rohingya refugees.


The strip of land is officially designated as Myanmar territory but is widely referred to as "no man's land" because it lies beyond the country's border fence.


"We acted this way based on the information we got regarding terrorism, especially the Arakan Rohingya Solidarity Army (ARSA) movement," Zaw Htay, a spokesperson for the Myanmar government, told AFP news agency on Friday.


"It was not aimed at antagonising Bangladesh," Htay said.


Bangladesh has called for an immediate pullback of Myanmar security forces - who have reportedly issued warnings using loudspeakers for Rohingya to leave the "no man's land" - from the area.


Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August following a government crackdown, which was launched in the wake of deadly attacks on military posts by the ARSA.