Myanmar’s military has killed scores of Rohingya Muslims in its recent crackdown across the western state of Rakhine, a London-based advocacy group says.
The Arakan Rohingya National Organization said on Wednesday that based on reports from the troubled region, at least 150 Muslims had been killed since Saturday.
Ko Ko Linn, a senior official from the organization, said Myanmar’s government sought to cover up the killings by barring the media and aid groups from entering the area.
The government has so far acknowledged the death of nearly 70 Rohingya Muslims and 17 members of security forces during the past days of fighting.
Rakhine, home to a large number of Rohingya Muslims, has been under a military lockdown since an alleged attack on the country’s border guards on October 9 left nine police officers dead. The government accused the Rohingya of being behind the assault.
Soldiers have killed scores and arrested many more in their hunt for the alleged attackers.
Myanmar’s troops have also torched hundreds of Rohingya homes over the past days.
Rakhine has been the scene of communal violence at the hands of Buddhist extremists since 2012. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands have been forced from homes and live in squalid camps in dire conditions in Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.
The government denies full citizenship to the 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population, branding them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. However, many believe the Rohingya are a community of ancient lineage in Myanmar.
According to the UN, the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.