March 2, 2020

3 Rohingya Muslims killed in Myanmar shelling

Kyaw Ye Lynn 
YANGON, Myanmar

Artillery shells land in Rohingya villages in western Rakhine state, official says

At least three Rohingya Muslims were killed and at least 10 other villagers injured after an artillery shell hit a village in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state on Saturday, an official said.

The incident happened in two Rohingya villages in Mrauk-U township on Saturday shortly after Arakan Army -- a predominantly Buddhist ethnic group -- attacked a military convoy carrying out the regular patrol in the area.

The victims were 18 and 19 years old Rohingya boys from Butalone village and the other victim was 60-year-old Rohingya woman from Maung Bwe village, according to Tha Sein, a regional lawmaker from Mrauk-U.

There have been frequent reports of civilian deaths coming from Rakhine as the region has seen armed fighting on a daily basis since the Arakan Army launched synchronized attacks on police outposts in early 2017, killing 13 officers.

According to Burma Human Rights Network on Feb. 18, at least seven civilians have died in the past two weeks with at least 49 civilians injured between the fighting in Rakhine state.

“Civilians have no say in war and yet are always its greatest victims. All combatants in Rakhine State must cease activity in civilian areas in order to ensure the safety of the innocents,” Said BHRN’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win.

Persecuted people

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down while 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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