BANGKOK: Amnesty International says Myanmar security forces killed at least hundreds of people during a systematic campaign to expel Rohingya Muslims.
The human rights group interviewed more than 120 Rohingya who fled the violence for its report released Wednesday. More than 580,000 refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages. Myanmar’s government has said it was responding to attacks by Muslim insurgents, but the United Nations and others have said the response was disproportionate. Myanmar also denies that atrocities are taking place.
Amnesty said in its report that security forces surrounded villages, shot fleeing inhabitants and then set buildings alight, burning to death the elderly and others unable to flee. It said women and girls were raped in some villages.
Thousands more Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh where more than half a million others are already living in squalid and overcrowded camps to escape large-scale violence.
Witnesses say that a new wave of refugees started crossing the border over the weekend. Thousands of newcomers stretched for several kilometers near one border crossing Tuesday. Several said that they were stopped by Bangladeshi border guards and spent the night in muddy rice fields.
Local government administrator Mohammad Mikaruzzman said Tuesday that he heard that some 20,000 people have arrived since Sunday crossing the border on foot or by boat at several points. According to the UN some 537,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since violence erupted their Aug. 25.