Satellite images show that several Rohingya village in Myanmar’s Rakhine State have been burned to the ground in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Saturday.
The New York-based rights group urged authorities to invite United Nations investigators to look into the destruction of a total of 430 buildings in three villages in the northern Maungdaw district between October 22 and November 10.
|Myanmar soldiers allegedly killed Rohingya villager|
“New satellite images not only confirm the widespread destruction of Rohingya villages but show that it was even greater than we first thought,” Brad Adams, HRW’s Asia director, said in a statement.
According to HRW, the damage took place in the villages of Pyaung Pyit, Kyet Yoe Pyin, and Wa Peik.
The allegations come at a time of heightened tensions between the authorities and the ethnic Rohingya community that has seen the government arm non-Muslim civilians in Rakhine and renewed crackdowns on the Rohingya.
Troops started pouring into Maungdaw in October after the killings of nine border police in three attacks along the country’s northwestern border with Bangladesh.
Security crackdowns have led to at least 3,000 Buddhist Rakhine fleeing their homes in Maungdaw township, with dozens of fighters allegedly being killed in the fighting.
Most people in the area are Muslim Rohingya, a stateless minority whom Buddhist nationalists vilify as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh – even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.