Footage shows bodies and burning in Myanmar’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims
Footage from inside Myanmar’s alleged “ethnic cleansing” shows half-buried corpses, villages burning and desperate people fleeing through the mountains.
The videos also appeared to contradict claims from the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi that security forces ended their operations on September 5.
The bodies were reportedly found in Gu Dar Pyin village, in Buthidaung township — one of several sites where mass killings have allegedly occurred.
Off camera, a man asks if the two corpses are male or female.
“The bodies still come out [of the mud]when the rains come,” said Puttanee Kangkun, a human rights specialist with the group Fortify Rights, who viewed the footage in Bangkok.
The ABC received a batch of edited videos from a source whose material has been reliable in the past.
Rakhine State is off limits to media — except for carefully arranged government tours — so the footage cannot be independently verified.
The Myanmar army has confirmed the death of at least 400 people it said were insurgents, but Rohingya refugees have told stories of indiscriminate killings and gang rape.
On September 19, Nobel Prize laureate and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi gave a state address, condemning any abuses in Rakhine State.
“Since September 5, there have been no armed clashes and there have been no clearance operations,” Ms Suu Kyi said.
A woman holding a child looks distressed and upset and holds a food package at a refugee camp.
But that is disputed by several sources.
“We have proof, evidence that the attacks [are]still going on after September 5 and people still move out from Rakhine,” Puttanee Kangkun said.
Separate video footage sent to the ABC allegedly shows security forces and vigilantes burning Muslim homes in the town of Maungdaw as recently as Thursday night.
Scores of injured refugees lie on the hospital floor on makeshift beds.
Insurgent ceasefire ends soon
After decades of communal tensions, this recent round of bloodshed began on August 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked 30 police posts.
The security forces retaliated against suspected militants and civilians alike, sparking an exodus of half a million Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh.
Tens of thousands in other communities have also been displaced.
Satellite images have shown the systemic torching of at least 200 Muslim villages across Rakhine State.
Rohingya Muslims are denied citizenship in Myanmar and live under an apartheid-like system, with many in camps.
The Myanmar Government considers them illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although many have lived in Myanmar for generations, brought over to work in the rice fields when Myanmar, then known as Burma, was a British colony.
While Myanmar’s army has a long history of abuses against other ethnic groups who have raised armies — such as the Kachin, Karen and Shan people — this Rohingya insurgency is relatively new.
Lalu Miya cries over the bodies of his wife and children.
The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) announced itself in October last year with an attack on police posts.
ARSA is believed to be overseen and financed from Saudi Arabia.
In Myanmar, it is led by Ata Ullah, who probably received training from extremist Islamic groups but has publicly rejected support from international terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda.
After the attack that sparked one of the worst ever crises for Rohingya people, ARSA declared a unilateral ceasefire.
That ceasefire ends on October 10.