Sat, Sep 11, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Myanmar denies military rape policy targeting minorities

AP , YANGON

Myanmar's ruling junta has dismissed renewed allegations that its soldiers are raping ethnic women in the war against insurgents, calling the charges "baseless" and a fabrication aimed at undermining the military.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry responded to a Thai newspaper article quoting a report alleging that Myanmar's soldiers were sexually abusing ethnic women.

"These allegations are found to be baseless and totally devoid of truth," the Foreign Ministry said.

The report claimed there were 125 cases of rape, including gang rape, between October 2002 and this March.

A report by another group in June 2002 documented cases of rape by Myanmar troops against girls and women from the Shan ethnic minority, triggering an international outcry. The US State Department backed that report, although Myanmar denied it.

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