Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is in turmoil once again. Widespread fear of genocide and mass atrocities being committed against the civilians of Rohingya, a Muslim minority in the mainly Buddhist country are reaching journalists across Asia.
An eyewitness declared that the army was 'beheading children and burning people alive'.
Opposition forces are putting the blame squarely on the government and have lodged a complaint with the UN. Former Nobel Peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of Myanmar's government, is asked to “set the right tone” and condemn the violence.
Human Rights Watch declared on Twitter that: "Aung San Suu Kyi hits a new low with this potentially deadly inflammatory propaganda. Leadership failure."
Another group defending the rights of minorities in Burma, Fortify Rights, said on Friday that harrowing eye-witness accounts were reaching them from Rohingya of those who escaped the village of Chut Pyin in Rathedaung township. These accounts claimed that around 200 Rohingya men, women and children had been killed by Myanmar's security forces.
Fortify Rights said that they had interviewed Abdul Rahman of the town of Chut Pyin, who had declared: "My brother was killed - [Myanmar Army soldiers] burned him with the group. We found [my other family members] in the fields. They had marks on their bodies from bullets and some had cuts. My two nephews, their heads were off. One was six years old and the other was nine years old. My sister-in-law was shot with a gun.”
Meanwhile the Myanmar military, who are in a power sharing agreement with the Democratic party of Aung San Suu Kyi reported that 400 people had already died in the violence since August 25. Of these around 370 were Rohingya insurgents, 13 Myanmar soldiers, two government officials and 14 civilians.
Mark Farmaner, director of the London based NGO Burma Campaign UK, commented that: “Supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and reforms in Myanmar doesn’t mean the British government has to stand by and do nothing as hundreds of Rohingya are slaughtered by the military.”