Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar amidst violence

Posted September 18, 2017

Myanmar's military retaliated, but those who have fled say soldiers shot indiscriminately and warned them they should leave or face death. They claim to be descendants of Muslims and have had a tension-filled relationship with Myanmar's Buddhist population for several decades.

The government has said that 176 out of 471, or 37.4 percent of all Rohingya villages were now empty of people, and an additional 34 villages were "partially abandoned".

Expressing concern over the situation, the UN Security Council called for immediate steps to end the violence, de- escalate the situation and re-establish law and order.

"Our field research backs what the satellite imagery has indicated - that the Burmese [Myanmar] military is directly responsible for the mass burning of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The UN Security Council on Wednesday called on Myanmar to end the violence following a close-door meeting.

His parents fled Myanmar in the 1970s and he was born in a refugee camp in Bangladesh.

"In this situation, the prime minister will present our specific proposals to resolve the crisis, highlighting the root causes behind it, in her speech at the UN General Assembly", the minister said.

Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay said he did not have information about the incidents Bangladesh had complained about but Myanmar had denied an earlier accusation. "There are still 11 missing", the Bangladesh daily Prothom Alo quoted Fazlul Haque, a local government official, as saying.

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The group quoted Rohingya witnesses who described security officers and vigilantes using petrol or shoulder-fired rocket launchers to set homes alight, before firing on villagers as they fled.

Expressing concern over the situation, Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson to the United Nations secretary-general said: "The reports we're getting, the pictures all of us are seeing are heart-breaking to say the least".

Guterres said many women and children were arriving in Bangladesh "hungry and malnourished".

Bangladesh, which is facing a big influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, has called on the global community to intervene and put pressure on Myanmar to address the exodus.

The violence has driven a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border and put intense global pressure on Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi to condemn the army campaign, which the United Nations says amounts to "ethnic cleansing".

This came after renewed violence in the Rakhine state, which occurred between security forces and Rohingya militants after the latter staged raids on police posts.

The Myanmar government with Aung San Suu Kyi as its de facto leader formed the commission after it drew condemnation for an army operation against Rohingyas following attacks on security forces in October a year ago.