Human Rights Watch says Myanmar’s military “summarily executed” and sexually assaulted dozens of Rohingya Muslims during a raid on a village in the west of the country over a month ago.
According to a report released by the international human rights group on Wednesday, the Myanmar army attacked a residential compound where a large number of villagers had converged out of fear for their lives on August 27.
“Soldiers had beaten, sexually assaulted, stabbed, and shot villagers who had gathered for safety in a residential compound,” the report said.
United Nations rights committees say Myanmar’s atrocities against Rohignya women and children may constitute crimes against humanity.
“These atrocities demand more than words from concerned governments; they need concrete responses with consequences,” said the groups deputy Asia director, Phil Robertson.
He added that satellite imagery showed the near-total destruction of the village after the army had left.
“The soldiers loaded the bodies – some witnesses said a hundred or more – into military trucks and took them away,” he added.
The report went on to quote survivors of the raids who recounted their survivals or deaths of their loved ones.
“One soldier, identified by many witnesses as Staff Sergeant Baju, led several soldiers into a courtyard and began calling to the people hiding in the house in the Rohingya language,” said a witness.
Then they battered them to death with their guns, he added.
Another survivor said the people of his village had been killed by the soldiers as if “they were clearing the jungle with their thin, sharp, and long knives.”
“Many were stabbed to death. When I tried to flee I was shot in the chest but was able to escape,” said another witness.
Rohingya-majority Rakhine state has been emptied of half of its Muslim population over the past weeks and more people are on the move as unspeakable acts of violence continue against the Rohingya.
Many witnesses and rights groups have reported systematic attacks, including rape, murder and arson, at the hands of the army and Buddhist mobs against Rohingya Muslims, forcing them to leave their generations-old homes and flee to overcrowded and squalid refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The UN has described the new crackdown on Rohingya as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”