The organization has analyzed fire-detection data, satellite imagery and photos and videos from the ground. According to Amnesty International, the evaluation of its information has revealed that an orchestrated campaign to burn the villages of the Rohingya Muslim minority has been ongoing across the region for almost three weeks.

What is currently happening in the region is “crimes against humanity – systematic attacks and forcible deportation of civilians,” Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s crisis response director, said.

“The evidence is irrefutable – the Myanmar security forces are setting northern Rakhine State ablaze in a targeted campaign to push the Rohingya people out of Myanmar. Make no mistake: this is ethnic cleansing,” she was quoted as saying on the official website of the organization.

Rohingya Muslim refugees arrive from Myanmar after crossing the Naf river in the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf
© AFP 2017/ MUNIR UZ ZAMAN

Amnesty International has detected at least 80 massive fires in inhabited areas across northern Rakhine since August 25 when the Rohingya crisis broke out.”Satellite images from the village tract of Inn Din, a mixed ethnic area in south Maungdaw, clearly show how an area of Rohingya homes has been burned to the ground, while non-Rohingya areas alongside them appear to have been left untouched,” the organization said in its report.

According to it, Myanmar’s armed forces had even notified people in some Rohingya villages that they were going to burn down their homes. The organization also cited eyewitnesses who said that the soldiers burned houses and then randomly shot fleeing people.

The operation of Myanmar military and security forces was launched following an attack by Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin on security posts in Rakhine State. The attacks prompted a harsh response from the authorities. Hundreds of people have died in the continued clashes, while thousands have been forced to flee.

The conflict originally started about a century ago. The latest upsurge has gradually escalated since 2011, hitting its peak in 2012 when thousands of Muslims sought asylum in special refugee camps on the country’s territory or fled to Bangladesh. Another escalation took place in 2016. According to the UN, up to 391,000 people from Myanmar’s Rakhine State have fled into Bangladesh since August 25.- SPUTNIK

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