Almost 400 dead as Myanmar steps up crackdown on Rohingya militants

Posted September 02, 2017

As a result, almost 40,000 Rohingya have headed to Bangladesh, according to the United Nations. "Shuffling all the blame on insurgents doesn't spare the Burmese government from its global obligations to stop abuses and investigate alleged violations", said Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch's Asia director, in a statement.

His account could not be independently verified by AFP, but offers an insight into the cat-and-mouse game between militants and security forces being played out in remote hamlets, fields and forest hideouts in Myanmar's westernmost Rakhine state.

Tragically, at least 26 people have so far drowned in an attempt to flee the violence. She has been accused for not speaking out for the persecuted minority.

Abdullah, a Rohingya villager still in Myanmar, said four out of six hamlets in his village had been burned down by security forces, prompting all residents to flee towards Bangladesh.

A series of videos show villages being burned as well as bodies of dead children and old women, allegedly killed by Myanmar armed forces.

The plight of the Rohingya made global headlines in 2015 when thousands of Rohingya were left stranded on boats in southeast Asia with no food or water because no country was willing to welcome them.

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Myanmar s Information Committee appeared earlier this week to confirm a major security operation took place around the village on Sunday afternoon as a patrol clashed with scores of Rohingya militants.

Long-standing tension between the Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists broke out into violent riots in 2012. Rakhine Buddhists, feeling unsafe after the upsurge in fighting, are moving south to the state's capital, Sittwe, where Buddhists are a majority and have greater security.

The UN has issued a report into allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, which observers say could amount to crimes against humanity.

An aid worker with an worldwide agency in Bangladesh reports: "What we're seeing is that many Rohingya people are sick".

"We did not have guns so we attacked them like a swarm of hornets shouting "Allahu Akbar" wielding our sticks and machetes", Omar told AFP of one raid, using a pseudonym to protect his identity.

"Many children have been killed", he told BuzzFeed News from Geneva, "many women, many elderly".

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Considered by the United Nations as the "most persecuted minority group in the world", the Rohingya are branded by Myanmar as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

A UNHCR aid worker gathers details about the Rohingya muslim refugees from Mayanmar at a makeshift camp on World Refugee Day in the outskirts of the Indian city Jammu on June 20, 2017. Bangladesh's unwillingness to host more refugees became apparent in the government's plan to relocate Rohingyas to a remote island that is mostly flooded during the monsoon season.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called on Bangladesh to open its borders to the Rohingyas to enable a humanitarian corridor. He had also said that around 40,000 Rohingyas were staying in India illegally. She warned the number was likely to be revised upward.

Hundreds of people have been stranded in a no man's land at the countries' border, the International Organization for Migration said.

"The current situation underlines the urgency of seeking holistic approaches to addressing the complex root causes of violence", the spokesperson said, reiterating the need to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"Some new arrivals have clothes with them, some even have kitchen utensils, but most leave everything behind".

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