Nearly 400 people have died in fighting that has rocked Burma’s northwest for a week, new official data show, making it probably the deadliest bout of violence to engulf the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in decades.
Muslim militants in Burma staged a coordinated attack on 30 police posts and an army base in Arakan State on Friday, and at least 59 of the insurgents and 12 members of the security forces were killed, the army and government said.
Bangladesh is working with Burmese security forces to stop Rohingya Muslim militants crossing their shared border, but will continue to allow women, children and the elderly to seek shelter there, a top government official said.
Campaign group Amnesty International said on Tuesday it had gathered evidence that insurgents from a Rohingya Muslim armed group killed scores of Hindu civilians in August last year, amid a surge in violence in western Burma.
Burma on Saturday repatriated the first Rohingya family from nearly 700,000 refugees who have fled to Bangladesh, after months of fraught talks with Dhaka and amid the United Nations’ warnings that the country is not ready for their return.
The relatives of 10 Rohingya men massacred in the Rakhine State village of Inn Din did not learn of the killings for many months — in some cases, not until Reuters reporters tracked them down in the refugee camps and told them what had happened. This is their story
Veteran US diplomat Bill Richardson has resigned from an international panel set up by Burma to advise on the Rohingya crisis, saying it was conducting a “whitewash” and accusing the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi of lacking “moral leadership.”
Cases of men and women enslaved in bonded labour or trafficked for marriage have started to emerge in India after they managed to escape or were rescued and found their way to Rohingya settlements there.
Over 100 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from Burma since Wednesday, with the latest refugees saying army operations are continuing in troubled Rakhine State, raising doubts about plans to send back 655,500 who had already fled.
Officials from Burma and Bangladesh meet on Monday to discuss how to implement a deal signed in November on the repatriation of more than 650,000 Rohingya who have fled Burma since late August. But many say fear returning.
Burma’s admission that soldiers were involved in the murder of 10 Muslims in September was an important step and the United States hoped it would be followed by more transparency and accountability, the US ambassador said on Thursday.
Burma’s military said its soldiers had murdered 10 captured Muslim “terrorists” during insurgent attacks at the beginning of September, after Buddhist villagers had forced the captured men into a grave they had dug.
Sold for $130 to work as a rag picker in the northern Indian town of Mathura, Rohingya refugee Abdul Rahman lived in a tenement of stitched together polythene bags and pined for his home and the lush farmland he owned in Burma’s Rakhine State.
Pope Francis ended a diplomatically tricky trip to Asia on Saturday, seeking the forgiveness of Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh after his controversial decision to not directly refer to their plight when he visited their homeland, Burma.
Pope Francis called on Thursday for decisive measures to resolve the political reasons that caused mostly Muslim refugees in Burma to flee to Bangladesh and urged countries to help the Dhaka government deal with the crisis.
The Vatican on Wednesday defended Pope Francis’s decision not to use the word “Rohingya” in public during his visit to Burma, saying his moral authority was unblemished and that his mere presence drew attention to the refugee crisis.
Bangladesh approved a $280 million project on Tuesday to develop an isolated and flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal to temporarily house 100,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighbouring Burma.
Pope Francis on Tuesday urged the leaders of majority-Buddhist Burma, mired in a crisis over the fate of Muslim Rohingya people, to commit themselves to justice, human rights and respect for “each ethnic group and its identity.”
The UN Human Rights Council is expected to hold a special session on alleged killings, rapes and other crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims in Burma that have driven more than 600,000 into Bangladesh since August.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will soon visit Beijing, state media said on Monday, as Burma appears to draw closer to its northern neighbour China amid global criticism over an exodus of Rohingya refugees.