Two Reuters Journalists Arrested in Burma, Facing Charges
Two Reuters Journalists Arrested in Burma, Facing Charges
6,700 Rohingya killed in first month of Myanmar violence
15 December, 2017, 13:37
Global aid group Doctors Without Borders says its field survey has found at least 6,700 RohingyaMuslims were killed between August and September in a crackdown by Myanmar's security forces.
The refugee exodus to Bangladesh was triggered by a military counter-offensive in Rakhine state after attacks on police and army posts in the northern Rakhine by the extremist group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25.
Rights groups say the crackdown was the culmination of years of persecution and discrimination against the Muslim group in mainly Buddhist Myanmar, where they are effectively stateless and denigrated as outsiders.
"We met and spoke with survivors of violence in Myanmar, who are now sheltering in overcrowded and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh", said the group's medical director Sidney Wong. Gunshots were the leading cause in violent deaths (69 percent), followed by being burnt to death (9 percent) and beaten to death (5 percent).
"The peak in deaths coincides with the launch of the latest "clearance operations" by Myanmar security forces in the last week of August", MSF reported.
The aid agency's death toll far surpasses estimates from Myanmar's government, which has put the figure in the hundreds. About 630,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing".
He said all communities were deeply traumatised following the violence that erupted in August, and that Rohingya people continue to flee, although "on a much lower scale".
"Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been reporting on events of global importance in Myanmar, and we learned today that they have been arrested in connection with their work", said Mr Stephen J. Adler, the Reuters president and editor-in-chief.
During that one-month period, the mortality rate among Rohingya soared to eight deaths per 10,000 people.
There was no immediate response to the MSF report from Myanmar authorities.
For its report, MSF carried out six surveys in November at refugee camps and settlements in southeastern Bangladesh, during which the NGO interviewed 2,434 Rohinga households.
A joint statement signed by 114 civil society organisations, people's organisations and 32 individuals addressed to Myanmar and ASEAN called on Myanmar to cease violence against and abuses of unarmed civilians in Rakhine State.
"We don't know what source MSF's numbers are based on", Win Myat Aye, Myanmar's social welfare minister, told the Myanmar Service of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a sister entity of BenarNews, on Thursday.
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