Myanmar army drives hundreds of Rohingya villagers out of homes
In Rakhine, relations between the Rohingya and majority Buddhists have hit their lowest point since hundreds of people were killed and thousands displaced in ethnic and religious violence in 2012. Photograph: (Getty)
Hundreds of Rohingya villagers in Myanmar are hiding in rice fields without shelter for the consecutive second night after the army on Sunday forced them out of their village in a crackdown following a string of attacks on border security forces.
Border guard officers stormed into the Kyee Kan Pyin village on Sunday and ordered around 2,000 Rohingya villagers to vacate their homes, giving them just enough time to gather their basic household items, Reuters reported.
Violence has intensified in the country's Rakhine province, with relations between Rohingyas and majority Buddhists hitting their lowest since 2012 when hundreds were killed and thousands displaced in ethnic and religious violence.
The government led by Aung San Suu Kyi has said the army and police in Rakhine are fighting at least 400 insurgents, drawn from the Rohingya Muslim minority, with alleged links to Islamist militants overseas.
While officials claim conducting carefully targeted sweeps against those who attacked police border posts on October 9 , residents in the region have accused the security forces of burning homes and killing non-combatants, Reuters reported.
Rohingya rights activists have uploaded videos showing women and men speaking in Rohingya language carrying their belongings and livestock to other villages or waiting out the crackdown in rice fields, Reuters reported.
"I was kicked out from my house yesterday afternoon, now I live in a paddy field outside of my village with some 200 people including my family, I became homeless," Rohingya man from Kyee Kan Pyin village told Reuters.
"After the soldiers arrived at our village, they said that if all of us didn't leave, they would shoot us,” he said.
Mynt Kyaw, a government spokesman, told Reuters that the government was unable to contact anyone in the area because it was a militarily-operated "red zone".
"A Muslim man called me this morning as they were being forcibly removed from their homes, but I was not able to confirm that information," said Mynt Kyaw.
The area around Maungdaw, near the border with Bangladesh, is under a military lockdown and journalists and aid workers are being denied access.
(WION with inputs from Reuters)