“Myanmar seeking ethnic cleansing”
MYANMAR - Thousands of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape military operations that have left scores of people dead and as many as 30,000 displaced. A senior UN official accused Myanmar on Thursday of seeking to ethnically cleanse the country of its Muslim minority, as Bangladesh stepped up border patrols and summoned the Myanmar ambassador to complain about the exodus. “Despite our border guards’ sincere effort to prevent the influx, thousands of distressed Myanmar citizens including women, children and elderly people continue to cross the border,” the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said.
The Rohingya are a minority of about a million people who, despite living in the country for generations, are treated as illegal immigrants and denied citizenship. On Tuesday, Bangladesh said it had sent 20 boats carrying Rohingya back to Myanmar. They said they were fleeing military sweeps, which were launched in response to a coordinated attack by armed men on 9 October who killed nine police officers. The army has deployed infantry and helicopters to fight what it says is an armed insurgency, but Rohingya say soldiers have raped and killed civilians.
Human Rights Watch has released satellite images which it said show hundreds of razed homes in Rohingya villages.
Demonstrators holding buckets protest amid the drought, in the center of La Paz. (Photo: Reuters)