Myanmar army massacred dozens of Rohingya, survivors say

Myanmar army massacred dozens of Rohingya, survivors say
More than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August. (AP)
Updated 21 December 2017

Myanmar army massacred dozens of Rohingya, survivors say

Myanmar army massacred dozens of Rohingya, survivors say

UHKIA, BANGLADESH: For six hours he hid in an upstairs room, listening to the crackle of gunfire and the screams of people being slaughtered outside his Myanmar home.
With every footstep that drew near, every cry that pierced the air, 52-year-old Bodru Duza braced for the soldiers to find him, to execute him like all the others who had fled to his compound that morning seeking a safe place to shelter. They were being blindfolded and bound, marched away in small groups, then butchered and shot as they begged for their lives.
What had started out as a quiet Sunday in northwestern Myanmar had spiraled into an incomprehensible hell — one of the bloodiest massacres reported in the Southeast Asian nation since government forces launched a vicious campaign to drive out the country’s Rohingya minority in late August.
By the time it was over, there was so much blood on the ground, it had pooled into long rivulets across the uneven earth, among bits of human flesh and the fragments of shattered skulls.
When Duza finally dared to emerge from his hiding place, he wondered how anyone could have survived.
The compound he grew up in was now consumed by an ethereal silence. His wife, daughter, and five young sons were nowhere to be seen. And as he crept toward a backdoor to escape, he stumbled upon the corpse of an unknown boy sprawled on the floor.
“Oh Allah!” he thought. “What have they done to us? What have they done to my family?“
Duza’s family belonged to the ethnic Rohingya Muslim community, which has long been persecuted and denied basic rights in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. They lived in the village of Maung Nu, where at least 82 Rohingya are believed to have been murdered on Aug. 27.
The massacre was part of a streak of violence that started before dawn two days earlier, when Rohingya insurgents staged an unprecedented wave of 30 attacks on security posts across Rakhine state. At least 14 people were killed.
The assaults triggered one of the greatest catastrophes the Rohingya have ever known: an army counter-offensive that has left hundreds of villages burned and driven 650,000 refugees into Bangladesh. The aid group Doctors Without Borders estimates 6,700 Rohingya civilians were killed in the first month of reprisals alone, and human rights groups have documented three large-scale massacres.
The Associated Press has reconstructed the massacre at Maung Nu as told by 37 survivors now scattered across refugee camps in Bangladesh. Their testimony and exclusive video footage from the massacre site obtained by AP offer evidence, also documented by the United Nations and others, that Myanmar armed forces have systematically executed civilians.
Myanmar’s military did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this story, and the government — which prohibits journalists from independent travel to northern Rakhine State — did not reply to an AP request for a visit. The army has insisted in the past that not a single innocent has been slain.