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UN secretary-general alarmed by reports of Myanmar airstrikes

The International Women's Day 2024 at the United Nations in New York

(Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is alarmed by reports that military airstrikes in Myanmar, including on Monday in Minbya township, have killed and injured many civilians, a U.N. spokesman said.

Myanmar has been convulsed by turmoil since the military seized power from an elected government in a 2021 coup.

"The expansion of conflict in Rakhine State is driving displacement and exacerbating pre-existing vulnerabilities and discrimination," the spokesman said. "The Secretary-General calls on all parties to prevent further incitement of communal tensions."

Muslim Rohingya have faced persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar for decades and nearly a million of them live in crammed camps in neighboring Bangladesh's border district of Cox's Bazar. Most fled a military crackdown in 2017.

Myanmar's military rulers view the Rohingya as foreign interlopers and have denied them citizenship.

Citing local residents, Radio Free Asia reported that 23 people were killed and 30 injured on Friday when a fighter jet dropped a bomb on Thar Dar, a predominantly Rohingya village about 5 km (three miles) north of Minbya.

Reuters could not immediately confirm the account.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)