Rohingyas flee crackdown in Myanmar in thousands
KONFRONTASI - A government crackdown in Myanmar has forced nearly 19,000 members of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslim community to flee to neighboring Bangladesh in less than a week.
“As of last night, 18,500 people have come across” from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where they mainly reside, said Chris Lom, the International Organization for Migration’s Asia-Pacific spokesman, on Wednesday.
Lom suggested that the number could be significantly higher as many of the displaced people might not have registered with Bangladeshi authorities.
“We also know there are people stuck at the border, but we do not know how many,” he said.
The roughly one-million-strong Rohingya community, which the Myanmarese government brands as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, has been suffering widespread and systematic aggression for years on end.
Buddhist extremists have been waging communal violence in Rakhine since 2012. Hundreds of people have been killed and tens of thousands forced from their homes as a result.
Smoke rises from what is believed to be a burning village in the area near Maungdaw in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, August 30, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
In addition, Rakhine has been under a military lockdown, which came with a “counterinsurgency” push since an alleged attack on the country’s border guards on October 9 last year. Nine police officers were killed in that attack, which the government blamed on armed Rohingyas.
The government claims that six days ago, the “militants” renewed their assaults, killing “at least 110,” and has attempted to justify the security crackdown.
The United Nations believes that the Myanmarese government might have committed ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya.
Bangladesh currently hosts some 400,000 of the uprooted people.[ptv]