MSF report: Unrest in Myanmar kills 6,700 Rohingya
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 12/14/17, 10:58 am
At least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims—including 730 children younger than 5—died in August and September during clearance operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, according to Doctors Without Borders. The aid group, also known by its French acronym MSF, said it collated the numbers between Aug. 25 and Sept. 24, based on surveys at refugee camps in Bangladesh, where more than 625,000 Rohingya fled to escape the violence. Myanmar’s security forces on Aug. 25 launched clearance operations against the Rohingya after some militants from the ethnic minority targeted security posts in Rakhine state. Authorities in Myanmar, also known as Burma, earlier claimed just 400 people died in the unrest. But MSF called its own tally a conservative estimate: The death toll could be as high as at least 9,000, it reported. “The numbers of deaths are likely to be an underestimation as we have not yet surveyed all refugee settlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don’t account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar,” said Dr. Sidney Wong, MSF’s medical director. “We heard reports of entire families who perished after they were locked inside their homes while they were set alight.”
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.