Naypyidaw, May 23: Members of a Rohingya militant group allegedly massacred as many as 99 people, including women and children, in Hindu villages in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017, according to a new Amnesty International report. In mid-2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) committed “serious human rights abuses… Including unlawful killings and abductions”, CNN reported on Tuesday citing the report. At the same time, the ARSA engaged in “scores of clashes with security forces”.
The Myanmar government has blamed the ARSA for attacking border guards and sparking a violent crackdown which has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims flee Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh. On August 25, 2017, ARSA militants attacked a Hindu village in Maungdaw and rounded up some 69 men, women, and children, the majority of whom were killed, “execution-style”, according to survivors who spoke to Amnesty. The same day, 46 members of a Hindu community in a nearby village disappeared. “In this brutal and senseless act, members of ARSA captured scores of Hindu women, men, and children and terrorised them before slaughtering them outside their own villages. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held to account,” CNN quoted Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International, as saying.
The ARSA was able to recruit some villagers to help carry out the attack, but the “overwhelming majority of Rohingya did not”, Amnesty said in its report, which it based on interviews with survivors and photographic evidence of the scene analysed by forensic anthropological expert. The Myanmar government has declined to comment on the Amnesty report. (IANS)