At least 6700 Rohingya, including hundreds of children, killed in the first month of Burma violence, says MSF
More than 6,700 Rohingya Muslims, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed in the first month of a crackdown that started in August in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.
The figure published in an MSF report is significantly higher than the numbers reported by Myanmar military officials relating to the same period.
Sidney Wong, MSF’s medical director, said the organisation gathered the data in six surveys of survivors of the violence in Myanmar’s northwestern Rakhine state, based on research and interviews from a sample population of more than 600,000 people.
While the organisation cautioned that the figures were a conservative estimate, the death toll still soars above Burmese military claims that only 400 people, including 376 terrorists were killed during their operations.
The survey shows that 69 percent of the victims died from gunshot wounds, 9 percent were burned alive inside houses and 5 percent died from beatings.
The new evidence backs United Nations claims that the Rohingya were targeted in mass atrocities by the Burmese security forces.
Last week the UN said they could not rule out that genocide had been committed and called for the perpetrators to face an international criminal trial.
Western countries have condemned the violence as ethnic cleansing, an allegation Myanmar strongly denies.
Some of the worst violence is believed to have occurred in Tula Toli, in a village in Maungdaw Township, where survivors say residents were rounded up on riverbanks and shot as they tried to flee.
Myanmar and Bangladesh have agreed to send Rohingya people back to Rakhine, in a deal that has been criticised by human rights groups as premature and lacking safeguards for the persecuted minority.