‘Rohingya children beheaded, men burnt alive by Myanmar troops’

Rohingya children and women fleeing persecution against Rohingya Muslims living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar enter Bangladesh through unguarded border points. Here they are seen waiting at Waikong union in Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar on Sunday, September 4, 2017. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Rohingya children and women are being massacred, burnt alive and are fleeing their homes as reports of renewed persecution against Rohingya Muslims living in the Rakhine State of Myanmar dominates international and local media.

International news portals such as Independent, Telegraph and ABC have run reports citing eyewitnesses saying fears of mass atrocities against Rohingya civilians in Myanmar were growing after eyewitness accounts emerged of children being beheaded and people burned alive.

News portal Independent reports, activist groups have accused the Burmese army of burning down villages and shooting Rohingya Muslim civilians as part of a crackdown on insurgents in Rakhine state.

Nearly 90,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar in August, pressuring scarce resources of aid agencies and communities already helping hundreds of thousands of refugees from previous spasms of violence in Myanmar.

"So far reports — I think quite credible — mention about 130 people including women and children killed," ABC news reports Chris Lewa, director of The Arakan Project which works with Rohingya communities, as saying.

On Friday Bangkok-based rights group Fortify Rights published harrowing eye-witness accounts from Rohingya who escaped the village of Chut Pyin in Rathedaung township, reports Telegraph.co.uk.

The rights group claimed around 200 Rohingya men, women and children had been killed by Myanmar's security forces and local ethnic-Rakhine villagers.

Soldiers reportedly arrested a large group of Rohingya men, marched them into a nearby bamboo hut, and set it on fire, burning them to death, the group was quoted as saying by Telegraph.co.uk.

Human rights body Fortify Rights interviewed 24 survivors and eyewitnesses of attacks in the last week from 17 villages in the three townships of northern Rakhine State—Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung. Survivors and eyewitnesses described mass killings and arson attacks by the Myanmar Army, Myanmar Police Force, Lon Tein ("security guards") riot police, and local armed-civilians.

Armed residents from a nearby village working in concert with the Myanmar Army, killing Rohingya civilians, the human rights body said in a press release issued on September 1 quoting Sultan Ahmed, a 27-year-old survivor from Chut Pyin village, who witnessed the atrocity.

"Some people were beheaded, and many were cut. We were in the house hiding when [armed residents from a neighboring village] were beheading people. When we saw that, we just ran out the back of the house," he told Fortify Rights.

"My brother was killed—[Myanmar Army soldiers] burned him with the group. We found [my other family members] in the fields. They had marks on their bodies from bullets and some had cuts. My two nephews, their heads were off. One was six-years old and the other was nine-years old. My sister-in-law was shot with a gun," "Abdul Rahman," a 41-year-old survivor of the attacks on Chut Pyin village told Fortify Rights.