by Connor McNally
Rohingya muslims (muslims from Myanmar) have called Myanmar home for generations, but now it appears that they are being systematically purged or being forced to flee to the neighboring country of Bangladesh. After attacks by muslim militants last month, the security force has allied themselves with violent groups and have targeted and attacked Rohingya Muslim villages. These attacks sent 417,000 Rohingya muslims to flee to Bangladesh. There is no known death toll at this point, but we do know ithat over 400 people have been killed and the number continues to grow.
Ongoing violence has seen civilians killed, buildings burned down, and landmines planted after insurgents launched attacks against police posts last week. Of twenty-one Rohingya villages in Rathedaung, to the north, only five were not targeted. Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have pleaded for safe passage from two remote Burmese villages cut off by hostile Buddhists and the Muslims are running short on food. Deadly attacks by Rohingya militants in the western Rakhine state prompted a ferocious response from Burmese security forces. Rohingya muslims are being blamed for what extremist militants do and face the consequences.
Most of the Muslim minority face draconian travel restrictions and are denied citizenship. The Burmese security forces and other groups have cut off supplies and support to Rohingya Muslim villages resulting in a shortage of food, water, and medical supplies. Until three weeks ago, there were twenty-one Muslim villages in Rathedaung, along with three camps for Muslims displaced by previous bouts of religious violence. Sixteen of those villages and all three camps have since been emptied and, in many cases, burnt to the ground, forcing an estimated 28,000 Rohingya to flee.
In the past, Rohingya muslims have been forced out of the country, killed, and revoked of their citizenship. Although Rohingya muslims have not had an easy life in Myanmar, they still call it home. Discrimination against Rohingya muslims is not new in Myanmar, but the situation is becoming more and more dire as mass killings and thousands of Rohingya flee for safety.