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“The army came and burned down my house. I was inside the house at that time,” one survivor said.
Rohingya refugees arriving at treatment centers in Bangladesh covered in burns have told of an increased wave of violence against Muslims by the government’s military offensive.
“The army came and they burned our homes, they killed our people. There was a mob of Rakhine people too,” Usman Goni, who managed to escape with his wife and seven children, told Reuters.
Families continue to arrive at Sadar Hospital in Bangladesh, fleeing the military forces attacking their villages in what the U.N. has referred to as an “ethnic cleansing.”
“My family was attacked on the 29th of August. The army came and fired indiscriminately,” Dildar Begum, a refugee told Al Jazeera. Begum managed to escape the flames of her home with her daughter but lost her husband, infant son and mother-in-law to the fire.
“My daughter and I somehow survived the attack, but the two monks accompanying the army men tried to kill us with a big knife. They thought we were dead and left us. We hid in the house for three days and then escaped,” she explained.
Shahida Begum, a 30-year-old survivor, who suffered severe burns across her body, mourns the death of her three sons who were killed just days before her home and her whole village were set on fire.
“The army came and burned down my house. I was inside the house at that time,” she said. “With no route to escape, I was also engulfed in the fire and my whole body sustained burns.
“The pain is unbearable,” she said. “It was better to die than suffer like this … Life will never be the same again.”
Refugee centers said they have enough supplies to treat burn victims for the moment, but reports from the United Nations Refugee Agency warn Bangladesh’s shelters are already “bursting at the seams” and have called for a humanitarian response from the international community.
“I’m particularly worried that the demand for food, shelter, water and basic hygiene support is not being met due to the sheer number of people in need,” said Save the Children Director Mark Pierce. “If families can’t meet their basic needs, the suffering will get even worse and lives could be lost.”
Save the Children estimates more than a million Rohingya refugees will seek safety in Bangladesh by January, saying that this figure includes at least 600,000 children who will be orphaned and consequently at risk of exploitation and trafficking.
Myanmar government leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has faced a barrage of criticism for not stopping the violence, including a petition calling for the revocation of her peace prize.
Suu Kyi is due to speak to the nation on Tuesday about a crisis as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Murphy is due in Myanmar this week.
He will travel to Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, to meet government officials and representatives of different communities, including Rohingya, but he is not expected to travel to the conflict zone in northern Rakhine state.
Bangladesh has said all refugees must go home while Myanmar has said it will take back those who can verify their citizenship.
Almost 370,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees are now known to have fled to Bangladesh from the ongoing violence in Myanmar since August according to Vivian Tan from the United Nations Refugee Agency.
Rohingya people have suffered systematic persecution over many decades by the Myanmar government, who consider them illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
The minority community has restricted rights and access to government services in the country. Since the 1970s, nearly a million Rohingya have fled persecution in the South Asian country.
Via . TeleSur
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