Gang rape, torture claims as Rohingya flee Myanmar


25 November, 2016

Up to 30,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee their homes according to the United Nations, which is urging Bangladesh to open its border to them.

Meanwhile, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said "thousands of distressed Myanmar citizens including women, children and elderly people continue to cross the border" even though Bangladeshi border guards have tried to prevent the influx.

The bloodshed is the most serious since hundreds were killed in communal clashes in Rakhine in 2012, exposing the lack of oversight of the military by Suu Kyi's seven-month-old administration.

Reports suggest security forces there are carrying out collective reprisal attacks following an assault on three border posts in early October, which killed nine police officers on the frontier. "Up to 50 women and girls of our village were tortured and raped".

The Rohingya are a stateless people who have suffered from persecution in Myanmar, where they are considered to be "Bengalis", or illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

"We nabbed them after they illegally trespassed (into Bangladesh)".

"So it's up to the government of Bangladesh to put pressure on the government of Myanmar to return the situation to normal so that these Rohingyas who have arrived recently can go back in safety and with dignity".

The protest - due to start after Friday prayers - follows a demonstration in front of the presidential palace and embassy Thursday, where hundreds carried banners saying "Save the Rohingya Muslims", "Myanmar, Stop Muslim Cleansing!" and "Stop Genocide against Rohingya".

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The conflict in Myanmar's north-western state of Rakhine has sent hundreds of Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh and poses a serious challenge to Nobel Peace Prize victor Aung San Suu Kyi, who swept to power past year on promises of national reconciliation.

Myanmar's military and the government have rejected allegations by residents and rights groups that soldiers have raped Rohingya women, burnt houses and killed civilians during the military operation in Rakhine.

Begum, now staying at the Kutupalong camp in southern Bangladesh, told CNN several women in her village were raped by regime soldiers.

"Thousands more have been reported to be gathering at the border crossing,", Bangladeshi foreign ministry said.

A spokesman for Myanmar President Htin Kyaw slammed the comments.

Md Alwi said the Malaysan government should act through its voice in ASEAN and the OIC by demanding that Myanmar end the atrocities against the Rohingyas. More than 150,000 people who normally receive life-saving assistance have received no food or medical aid for more than six weeks.

"Difficult as it is for the Bangladesh government to absorb large numbers, it seems to me there is no other choice, because the only other choice is death and suffering", said John McKissick, head of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees office in the southern resort town of Cox's Bazar.

Many children live in the Rohingya camp. "All of them fled from their homes", she said.

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