Rohingya: The Myanmar Army has reportedly opened fire on unarmed Rohingya men fleeing the bloodshed in an attempt to cross into Bangladesh border after a rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched a pre-dawn raid on police outposts, trying to break into the Army base in Rakhine region killing nearly 100 people of which 80 were Rohingya Muslims.
The residents and activists in the Rakhine region have accused the Myanmar Army soldiers of opening fire, carrying out arson attacks and indiscriminately shooting Rohingya civilians men, women, children in the region after civilians attempted to escape bloodshed trying to cross Bangladesh border.
Following the attack on Friday, the army declared war against “terrorism” killing many and besieging townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung, a home to nearly 800,000 people, imposing a curfew in the area from 6 pm to 6 am.
Though media recorded the killing of nearly 100 people, sources from Rohingya reported the killing of at least 800 people belonging to the Muslim minority which included men, women and children in the violence.
Speaking of the attack a Maungdaw resident Aziz Khan said the soldiers attacked his village early on Friday and began “firing indiscriminately at people’s cars and homes.
“Government forces and the border guard police killed at least 11 people in my village. When they arrived they started shooting at everything that moved. Some soldiers then carried out arson attacks.
“Women and children were also among the dead,” he said. “Even a baby wasn’t spared” he added.
Blogger and Rohingya activist Ro Nay San Lwin said nearly 5,000 to 10,000 people living in the area had been driven out of their homes in the recent attacks.
He said various mosques, madrasas belonging to the Muslim community had been torched in the attack with thousands of Muslims left stranded, without food and shelter.
“My own uncles were forced to flee by the government and the military,” said Lwin.
He added, “There has been no help from the government, instead people’s homes have been destroyed and their goods looted.
“Without food, shelter and protection, they don’t know when we’ll be killed.”
Speaking to the media sources, a resident of Buthidaung said that “fear had gripped every household.
“People have been sharing videos of the killings on WhatsApp. Videos of women and children being killed. Innocent men being shot dead. You can’t begin to imagine how scared we are.
“Nobody wants to leave their home. Muslims are scared to go anywhere, hospitals, markets, anywhere. It’s a very dangerous situation.”
Various videos have been uploaded on social media showing men, women children fleeing the attack areas, taking refuge in rice, paddy fields to escape the violence.
The attack in October on border posts killing nine policemen, Aung San Suu Kyi’s government sent thousands of its troops into Rohingya villages which followed various attacks of innocent killings, arson attacks and rape by the security forces. Nearly 87,000 Rohingya civilians fled to Bangladesh to escape the violence.
Speaking to media, Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights, a human rights group, said the with the “authorities treating all Rohingya as combatants”, the government’s account of the violence would be “dubious at best”.
He told, “The government has refused to cooperate with a UN fact-finding Mission on Rakhine and there are serious allegations of the military attacking unarmed civilians”.
“A lot of people are on the run and they need serious protection and the authorities have not made it easy to help them.”
The Rakhine state is home to 1.1 million Rohingya people, who are widely discriminated as illegal Bangladesh immigrants by the Buddhist majority even though the Rohingya people in the area have been living in the area since ages. These minorities in the area are living below the poverty line. The Government made these minorities stateless.