The Latest: US urges Myanmar to avoid inflaming tensions

YANGON, Myanmar — The Latest on militant attacks on security forces in Myanmar (all times local):
3:15 a.m.
The United States is strongly condemning attacks on security forces in western Myanmar but urging a government response that “avoids inflaming a tense situation.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert says that as security forces act to prevent further violence and bring the perpetrators to justice, they should respect the rule of law and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The U.S. statement Friday follows attacks by ethnic Rohingya militants on security outposts in the western state of Rakhine that have left 71 people dead.
Nauert says the attacks underscore the importance of the government implementing recommendations of a commission chaired by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan. The commission published its final report on Thursday on to resolve communal violence in the region.
6 p.m.
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, said Friday 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 marked 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.
1:30 p.m.
The office of Myanmar’s leader says the death toll in militant attacks on several police and border outposts in a troubled western state has risen to 25.
Leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s office posted on Facebook that eight police officers and one immigration officer had been killed and police had also recovered 16 militants’ bodies.
The update Friday afternoon also said some weapons had been taken from the police in the attacks.
Suu Kyi’s office said earlier that the attacks were intended to coincide with the release of a report from the Rakhine Advisory Commission. On Thursday it recommended improvements to economic development and social justice in Rakhine state to resolve communal violence between Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority.
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