March 25, 2022
By Simon Lewis and Chris Gallagher
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on alleged arms dealers and companies it said were involved in procuring weapons for Myanmar’s junta, coordinating with similar measures from Canada and Britain.
The U.S. measures targeted three alleged arms dealers and two companies linked to them, as well as a conglomerate operating in the defense sector owned by alleged arms dealer Tay Za, who was already under U.S. sanctions, the U.S. Treasury said.
Washington has imposed sanctions on 27 entities and 70 individuals since a February 2021 coup plunged Myanmar into chaos, and would continue to “impose costs” on the junta, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
“We have taken these actions today in response to the regime’s escalating violence, to show our strong support for the people of Burma, and to promote accountability in connection with the coup and the violence perpetrated by the regime,” Blinken said.
The United States also imposed sanctions on the Myanmar military’s 66th Light Infantry Division, which Treasury said was accused of a massacring civilians in the towns of Pyay and Hpruso, and two military commanders.
Washington on Monday said it had determined that Myanmar’s army committed genocide and crimes against humanity in violence against the Rohingya minority. U.S. officials said they hoped that determination would help prevent atrocities by the military.
Myanmar’s foreign ministry rejected the U.S. 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.
Canada announced it was acting against four individuals and two companies it said were responsible for procuring and supplying arms to Myanmar’s military. Britain blacklisted two individuals and three companies.
Separately, the U.S. Treasury said it added to its sanctions list six people already prosecuted by the United Arab Emirates on accusations of 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 organization.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Caitlin Webber, Howard Goller and Cynthia Osterman)