The never-ending persecution of Rohingya Muslim minority in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar resulted in the death of 71 Muslims and 12 Buddhist soldiers on Friday.
The attacks began a few hours after a Rakhine Advisory Commission led by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan released its final report and recommended that the government act quickly to improve economic development and social justice in Rakhine state to resolve violence between Buddhists and the Rohingya Muslim minority.
Nearly 150 Rohingya families tried to cross into neighboring Bangladesh via the Naf River but were stopped by the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).
Rakhine (Arakan) is bisected by religious hatred focused on the stateless Rohingya Muslim minority, who are reviled and perceived as illegal immigrants in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
Myanmar’s government has a history of seeking excuses to forcefully suppress the Rohingya Muslims, who number more than one million people. Past claims of Rohingya radicalism have been flimsy. Now, in the wake of genuine Muslim resistance supported by several international human rights groups, the authorities feel they have a license under West’s so-called War on Terror, to go hard – and they are wasting no time using it.
The UN estimates that since October last year around 74,000 new Rohingya Muslims escaped to Bangladesh due to the murder and persecution at Northern Rakhine State in Myanmar. Furthermore, the Bangladesh authorities estimate that around half a million unregistered and 30,000 registered refugees are staying in Bangladesh.
The UN believes the military crackdown may have amounted to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
Myanmar army and Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government vehemently deny allegations of widespread abuses, including rapes and murders. They have so far refused to grant visas to UN investigators tasked with probing the allegations.