Rohingya Muslim crisis: Burma’s security forces using scorched earth tactics to drive out minority, new evidence finds
Security forces in Burma are using scorched-earth tactics to drive out Rohingya Muslims, new evidence appears to show. Entire Rohingya villages are being burned down by vigilante mobs and security forces in an orchestrated campaign that has lasted almost three weeks, campaigners have warned . Those trying to flee the attacks are being shot dead. Fire-detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground has indicated at least 80 large-scale fires in inhabited areas across northern Rakhine State since 25 August, according to Amnesty International.
Satellite sensors during the same month-long period over the past four years detected no fires whatsoever of this magnitude anywhere in the state. While the extent of the damage caused by the fires cannot be independently verified on the ground due to access restrictions by the Burma government, Amnesty said security forces are likely to have burned down whole villages, forcing tens of thousands to flee in terror. Satellite images from the village tract of Inn Din, a mixed ethnic area in south Maungdaw, show how an area of Rohingya homes has been burned to the ground, while non-Rohingya areas alongside them appear to have been left untouched.
Satellite imagery showing the extent of burnings inside Rakhine State (Amnesty International )
Satellite imagery showing the extent of burnings inside Rakhine State
One 48-year-old man said he witnessed the army and police storm into his village of Yae Twin Kyun in northern Maungdaw township on 8 September.
When the military came, they started shooting at people who got very scared and started running . I saw the military shoot many people and kill two young boys . They used weapons to burn our houses . There used to be 900 houses in our village, now only 80 are left . There is no one left to even bury the bodies, he said. The true number of fires and extent of property destruction is likely to be high, as cloud cover during the monsoon season has made it difficult for satellites to pick up all burnings and smaller fires have gone undetected by environmental satellite sensors, the campaign group said.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International s Crisis Response Director, who has spoken to people who have fled across the border to Bangladesh, described the current situation as an ethnic cleansing . She said: The evidence is irrefutable – the Myanmar security forces are setting northern Rakhine State ablaze in a targeted campaign to push the Rohingya people out of Myanmar.
Make no mistake: this is ethnic cleansing . There is a clear and systematic pattern of abuse here .
Security forces surround a village, shoot people fleeing in panic and then torch houses to the ground.
In legal terms, these are crimes against humanity – systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians. The news comes as the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson called on Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out against the “abomination” of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims. Mr Johnson’s comments followed an announcement that the UK would provide an additional 25m to help hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims driven out of their homes by the violence.
Announcing the money, International Development Secretary Priti Patel said she was “appalled” by allegations of human rights violations by the Burmese military and militias in Rakhine state. She appealed to the Burmese military to put a stop to attacks and ensure access for humanitarian workers seeking to reach displaced people. Mr Johnson, who was previously criticised for describing Nobel Peace Prize-winner Ms Suu Kyi as “one of the most inspiring figures of our age”, has urged her to stop the violence against the Rohingyas.
Rohingya Muslims flee violence in Burma
Speaking at a press conference in London alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the Foreign Secretary described events in Burma as a “tragedy” involving “gross abuses of human rights”. Asked about his earlier comments about Ms Suu Kyi, he added: “Let’s be clear, she led Burma after a period of decades of repression by a military junta and I yield to no-one in my admiration of what she stood for and the way she fought for democracy . I think many people around the world share that admiration.
“But I think it’s now vital for her to use that moral capital and that authority to make the point about the suffering of the people of Rakhine.
“Nobody wants to see a return to military rule in Burma, nobody wants to see a return of the generals.
“But it is vital for her now to make clear that this is an abomination and that those people will be allowed back to Burma and that preparation is being made and that the abuse of their human rights and the hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of killings will stop.”
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FRESNO, Calif. – Police need your help identifying a suspect accused of ripping out security cameras from a Fresno middle school . This suspect isn’t just accused of stealing from schools . Police say he’s burglarizing city property and it’s caught on camera. The warning is clear at this Fresno City water pump station . Security cameras are on . Last week those cameras recorded a man breaking in . Police say he stole the camera, an air conditioning unit and a metal door . Five days later, detectives say the same suspect trespasses onto Yosemite Middle School . He appears to scope out the area as he walks through the hallway before ripping out this security camera.
“These cameras are pretty expensive that Fresno Unified has installed and we’re looking at a $2,000 loss from the school just on this case alone,” said Detective Donnie Dinnell. Dinnell says the suspect stole two cameras that night and police believe he’s tied to Tioga Middle School’s missing cameras. “He could possibly have a source that he could sell those cameras to .
Most likely for drugs or drug money if he does,” said Dinnell. Costing taxpayers thousands of dollars and jeopardizing school security . Police say they need the public’s help identifying the suspect before he strikes again.
“$4,000 worth of cameras being stolen from the school districts are $4,000 worth of education materials that the school just can’t purchase . Just that simple, so the true victims here are our students,” said Dinnell. The suspect appears to be a white male with a slim build, in his 20s and has brown hair with a beard . He’s been seen on camera wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the area of southeast Fresno . If you have any idea who the suspect is, call Crime stoppers at 498-STOP .
You can remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.