LONDON - Myanmar's military is shelling villages and preventing civilians from getting food and humanitarian help, amid an intensifying crackdown on the rebel Arakan Army in the restive northwestern state of Rakhine, Amnesty International has said.

The human rights group said on Monday its investigations also found that the security forces had used vague and repressive laws to detain civilians in its battle against the Arakan Army, an ethnic Rakhine group that is fighting for more autonomy.

"These latest operations are yet another reminder that the Myanmar military operates without any regard for human rights," Tirana Hassan, Amnesty's director of crisis response, said in a statement. "Shelling inhabited villages and withholding food supplies is unjustifiable under any circumstances."

Fighting between the military and Arakan Army intensified in January after the rebels attacked a police post leaving 13 officers dead.

The military responded by deploying more troops to the region, the site of a massive crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in 2017, in an attempt to "crush" the fighters. The United Nations says some 5,200 people had been forced from their homes on January 28, as a result of the conflict.

There was no immediate response from the Myanmar authorities to Amnesty's report.(FA)