At least 12 people have died in Myanmar's Rakhine state in clashes between forces and armed people, reports said on Wednesday (12 October).
On Tuesday, four soldiers and an assailant were killed when several men brandishing pistols and swords attacked troops in Pyaungpit village. Seven bodies were also recovered after clashes broke out in nearby Taung Paing Nyar. The identity of the armed people is not known.
The state run Global New Light Of Myanmar reported, "After the incident [clashes], troops found seven dead bodies. Swords and sticks were found with the bodies."
Nine police officials were found dead on Sunday and the army started scouring the area, which is not far from the border with Bangladesh. The police personnel were killed in coordinated attacks at three border posts.
On Tuesday four men suspected of being involved in Sunday's attacks on the police were captured, two of whom were named by state media as Andra Mular Kein and Mawlawi Fordita.
The latest unrest has raised concerns regarding a repeat of the 2012 sectarian violence that tore the state of Rakhine apart, leaving more than 100 people dead and displacing thousands of Rohingyas.
Rakhine has majority of Muslim Rohingyas, who are considered stateless minorities and are denounced by Buddhists as illegal immigrants.
The UN's special advisor to Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, urged civilians and troops to exercise restraint at what he called a "delicate juncture" for the state. He also asked residents "not be provoked into any kind of response by targeting other communities or religious groups". Activists said that the search for criminals is being used as a pretext to crackdown on Rohingyas. Local residents told AFP that they were scared even to leave their houses as troops patrolled the streets.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has come under tremendous pressure to find a solution for the issue. She recently appointed a commission headed by ex-UN chief Kofi Annan to find ways to resolve the matter.