Satellite photos released by Human Rights Watch Saturday showed what they are desperate to escape — entire villages torched to the ground in clashes between Myanmar’s armed forces and local militants.
More than 73,000 Rohingyas have now fled across the border since August 25, the United Nations said Sunday. But in northern Rakhine State there are reports of at least another 30,000 Rohingyas trapped in hilly terrain without basic supplies of food, water or medicine, according to activists.
The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, are considered some of the most persecuted people in the world. Myanmar, also known as Burma, considers them Bangladeshi and Bangladesh says they’re Burmese. It is the second time in less than a year that a military crackdown has led to a mass exodus.
The trapped refugees are just some of at least 100,000 Rohingyas who have been forced to flee their homes since August 25, after armed forces began “clearance operations” across Rakhine State. The government blames “terrorists” for starting the violence. Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers in border post attacks two weeks ago, according to state media, intensifying the latest crackdown.
A top military official said the government was “taking great care in solving the (Rakhine State) problem.” Due to Myanmar’s policy of shutting off all access to Rakhine state for the media, it is difficult to access verified accounts. However, it is understood through world media that this persecution is widespread.
Leaders around the world have condemned the lack of action by Suu Kyi who has failed to protect the minority Muslims. The Rohingya have long been persecuted by the Myanmar government. Despite living in the country for generations, they’ve been denied citizenship and are regularly harassed.