Myanmar Armed Forces Burn Villages, Fire On Fleeing Civilians

Michele Moreno
September 2, 2017

Four of the deceased might have been shot to death, said the OC quoting witnesses.

Haji Abdul Malek, a leader in Kanjarpara village, said some 3,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh through Kanjarpara point of the Naf River on Wednesday and Thursday night.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

India's supreme court has agreed to hear a petition challenging the government's decision to deport all of the estimated 40,000 Rohingya Muslims living in the country after fleeing persecution in Myanmar, a lawyer involved in the case said on Friday.

Law enforcers rescued 19 bodies of Rohingya people, who had been fleeing violence in Myanmar, from the Bay of Bengal after the ill-equipped boats carrying them capsized yesterday.

Nearly 400 people have died in Myanmar since the country's army stepped up a military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims last week.

Rohingya community self-identify as a distinct ethnic group, with their own language and culture, and claim a long- standing connection to Rakhine State in Myanmar.

But testimonies gathered by AFP from the displaced reaching Bangladesh suggest some Rohingya men are heeding a call-to-arms by the militants.

Rights groups say the true toll is likely much higher. "We ran away so they couldn't find us", said Samira, 19, a survivor from one of the boats, as the monsoon wind and rain blew off the sea to soak her bright orange hijab.

"People are traumatised", said Sanjukta Sahany of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Myanmar security forces have launched "clearance" operations to sweep out insurgents whose ranks appear to be swelling as male Rohingya villagers join their cause.

More than 500 Hindus from Myanmar's Rakhine state have crossed over to Bangladesh over the last couple of days.

"This can not lead to a repeat of last year's vicious military reprisals responding to a similar attack, when security forces tortured, killed and raped Rohingya people and burned down whole villages", the Amnesty International warned in its statement last week.

The ARSA emerged as a force in October past year when attacks killed Myanmar border police, prompting a crackdown by security forces that killed scores and forced 87,000 people to flee to Bangladesh.

Most live in squalid and increasingly overcrowded camps in the coastal area of Cox's Bazar, and Dhaka has made clear it wants no more to come.

This new chapter of state-sanctioned genocide began when an armed group, which calls itself the ARSA (Armed Rohingya Salvation Army), reportedly attacked a number of Burmese military outposts last week to avenge decades of army violence and murder.

An AFP reporter on a government-led trip to Maungdaw this week saw columns of smoke rising from several burning villages, while terrified Buddhist and Hindu civilians huddled in schools in the main town.

Other reports by Insurance News

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