NGO: Myanmar Violence Killed at Least 6700 Rohingya in August-September

by Wade Massey December 16, 2017, 5:51
NGO: Myanmar Violence Killed at Least 6700 Rohingya in August-September

More than 6,700 Rohingya, including 730 children were killed after violence broke out in Myanmar's Rakhine state late August, according to global medical NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).

The casualty report is much higher than Myanmar's official figure of 400.

Reuters news agency called on Myanmar to immediately release two of its journalists who were arrested for possessing "important secret papers" obtained from two policemen who had worked in Rakhine state, where violence widely blamed on security forces has forced more than 630,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

The Myanmar Press Council says police have arrested two journalists working for an worldwide news organization on suspicion of possessing "secret police documents" related to the ongoing crisis in Rakhine state.

Among the dead children below the age of five, MSF says more than 59 percent were reportedly shot, 15 percent burnt to death, 7 percent beaten to death and percent killed by landmine blasts. "With very few independent aid groups able to access Maungdaw district in Rakhine, we fear for the fate of Rohingya people who are still there".

"The peak in deaths coincides with the launch of the latest "clearance operations" by Burma security forces in the last week of August", MSF Medical director, Sidney Wong, in a statement.

"I think it's important that the global community does everything possible" to win the release of the journalists and also to end the dramatic human rights violations that have caused many to flee their country, he said Thursday.

They have been stripped of their citizenship, denied nearly all rights, and labelled "stateless".

They have told of atrocities committed by security forces including gang rape, execution-style killings and the razing of entire villages, leading the United Nations to claim that the situation in Rakhine appears to be "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

She said the findings were staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member dead as a result of violence, and horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured.

In November, Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar to return hundreds of thousands of the refugees.

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