YANGON, Myanmar — Ethnic Rohingya militants in western Myanmar launched overnight attacks on more than two dozen police and border outposts, leaving 12 security personnel and 59 Rohingya dead, the government said Friday, in a dramatic escalation of fighting in the troubled region.
The office of the country’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said military and border police responded to the attacks by launching ‘‘clearance operations.’’
Police fought off groups of as many as 100 Rohingya attackers armed with guns, machetes, and homemade grenades. The captured weapons were shown in photos posted online by the government.
A witness in Maungdaw township in Rakhine state, contacted by phone, said soldiers entered her village at about 10 a.m. Friday, burned homes and property, and shot dead at least 10 people.
The witness, who asked to be identified by her nickname, Emmar, because of fear of retribution, said villagers fled in many directions but mostly to a nearby mountain range. She said gunshots and explosions could be heard and smoke could still be seen Friday.
A militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, took responsibility for the overnight attacks on more than 25 locations.