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US issues sanctions on alleged arms dealers for Myanmar military

| Updated: March 28, 2022 20:48:33


Soldiers stand guard at a Myanmar's military checkpoint on the way to the congress compound in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on February 1, 2021 — Reuters photo Soldiers stand guard at a Myanmar's military checkpoint on the way to the congress compound in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on February 1, 2021 — Reuters photo

The United States imposed new sanctions on Friday targeting alleged arms dealers and companies it said were involved in procuring weapons for Myanmar's junta, the US Treasury Department said.

Canada also announced it was acting against four individuals and two companies it said were responsible for procuring and supplying arms to Myanmar's military in an action coordinated with the United States and Britain, reports Reuters.

Washington on Monday formally stated it had determined that Myanmar's army committed genocide and crimes against humanity in violence against the Rohingya minority. US officials said they hoped that determination would help prevent future atrocities by the military, which seized power in February 2021.

Myanmar's foreign ministry rejected the US determination of genocide, saying it was based on false information and was an attempt to interfere in its domestic affairs.

Myanmar's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the sanctions.

The US measures announced on Friday targeted three alleged arms dealers and two companies linked to them, as well as a conglomerate operating in the defence sector owned by alleged arms dealer Tay Za, who was already under US sanctions.

They also imposed sanctions on the Myanmar military's 66th Light Infantry Division, which Treasury said was accused of massacring civilians in the towns of Pyay and Hpruso, and two military commanders.

“Brutality and oppression have become trademarks of the Burmese military regime’s rule,” Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.

Separately on Friday, the US Treasury said it had added to its sanctions list six people already prosecuted by the United Arab Emirates for setting up a Boko Haram cell to raise funds for insurgents in Nigeria.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said the six Nigerian nationals had provided support to Boko Haram, which the United States has designated a terrorist organisation.

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