As disturbing stories of gang rape, torture and murder emerge out of Myanmar, a United Nations official has said that the country is carrying out ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.
The Burmese military continues to sweep the area, in the country’s western Arakan and Rakhine states, for what it calls Islamic militants. The counter-insurgency began after coordinated attacks by assailants on border guards in October.
Media reports, however, say that a campaign is underway against all the people living there, who in desperation are fleeing in very large numbers to Bangladesh.
According to an Al Jazeera report,
Up to 30,000 members of the ethnic community have abandoned their homes in Myanmar to escape the unfolding violence, the UN said, after troops poured into the narrow strip where they live earlier this month.
The Myanmar government on its part has denied atrocities.
The head of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), John McKissick, has reportedly told the BBC that troops were "killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river" into Bangladesh.
While Bangladesh has been generous in accepting the Rohingya community, it is naturally having to take stock of the resources it currently possesses and how many refugees it is capable of taking in. In light of this, they have asked the international community for support.
Bangladesh foreign minister A H Mahmood is expecting that the situation in Myanmar would be normalised soon and the people staying temporarily in Bangladesh would be able to return to their homeland without fear and further violence and retaliation.
The one million Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar are seen by many in the country as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
With inputs from IANS
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