Bangladesh offers Myanmar aid vs Rohingya

Cardinal Pietro Parolin

Pope Francis to visit Bangladesh and Myanmar in November

The militants say they are fighting to protect the persecuted roughly one million-strong Rohingya and accuse the state and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists of trying to force them from Myanmar.

Satellite imagery analysed by New York-based Human Rights Watch showed widespread burnings in at least 10 areas in northern Rakhine State since the August 25 militant raids, the group said in a statement.

At least 109 people were killed in the recent violence in Rakhine, majority militants, but also members of the security forces and civilians.

Refugees have told news outlets like the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and CNN that Myanmar security forces are killing Rohingya civilians.

Activist groups have accused the Burmese army of burning down villages and shooting Rohingya Muslim civilians as part of a crackdown on insurgents in Rakhine state.

'Soldiers and police have randomly fired on and killed civilians, raped women and girls, torched whole villages and arbitrarily arrested Rohingya men without any information about their whereabouts or charges, ' the report's summary read. Amid claims by Human Rights Watch that many of their townships are on fire, Rohingya muslims are pouring into Bangladesh, which has said no new refugees will be allowed in.

"We have already said that the Rohingya do not exist in Myanmar", he said.

Although the cause of fire has not been ascertained yet, NY based Human Rights Watch are adamant that satellite images emerging in the aftermath clearly show burning in at least ten different areas in Northern Rakhine State.

"Around 6,000 Myanmar nationals have gathered on the border and are trying to enter Bangladesh", a senior Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official told AFP, referring to the Rohingya.

An army source in Rakhine told Reuters that troops were hunting down insurgents across the region, clearing landmines and evacuating non-Muslims and government staff.

The Rohingya have faced severe discrimination and were the targets of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people - predominantly Rohingya - from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remain.

Also on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the world for being "blind and deaf" to the unrest in Myanmar's western Rakhine state in a television interview.

In May, the Pontiff received the de facto head of the Myanmar government and Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, at the Vatican, in a meeting that also marked the beginning of bilateral diplomatic relations.

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