In the process of forcing Rohingya Muslims to leave Myanmar, the country's military has killed hundreds of men, women, and children and burned down villages, a report out Wednesday by Amnesty International says.
Since 1982, Myanmar has denied citizenship to the Rohingya, and they are not one of the ethnic groups officially recognized by the government. On Aug. 25, an insurgent group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked dozens of security posts, and in retaliation, Myanmar security forces have been going from village to village, burning down buildings and shooting residents as they try to run away, witnesses told Amnesty International. In the chaos, more than 580,000 refugees have made their way to Bangladesh, with about 60 percent of the refugees being children.
Amnesty International has interviewed more than 120 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and they described villages being set ablaze, residents being shot at as they tried to escape, and the rape of women and young girls by Myanmar security forces. Many of those who died in the villages were sick, disabled, or elderly, and unable to flee from burning buildings, the witnesses said.
While it's not known how many people have died, satellite imagery shows the destruction of Rohingya buildings and mosques, with non-Rohingya dwellings just a few yards away intact, Amnesty International crisis researcher Matthew Wells told The Associated Press. "It speaks to how organized, how seemingly well-planned this scorched-earth campaign has been by the Myanmar military, and how determined the effort has been to drive the Rohingya population out of the country," he said.