‘We are going to kill you’: Villagers in Burma recount violence by Rohingya Muslim militants

‘We are going to kill you’: Villagers in Burma recount violence by Rohingya Muslim militants, by Annie Gowen.

The Hindu woman wept as she vowed never to return home, where she said Rohingya militants slaughtered her son, daughter-in-law and three granddaughters in August.

“They killed my family,” Halu Bar Hla, 70, said through tears at a camp for internally displaced people in western Burma. “I will not go back. I will die if I go back to my village. They will slit my throat.”

Hla’s account illustrates the complexity of the Rohingya crisis, in which Buddhists and minorities such as Hindus claim that militant Rohingya have carried out atrocities against them even as a brutal military “clearance operation” has sent 600,000 Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh.

The U.N. human rights chief has called the Burmese military’s crackdown a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” and Burma’s democratically elected government and Aung San Suu Kyi, its de facto leader, have been widely condemned during the exodus. …

Leaders from the Buddhist community and Suu Kyi’s government deny that atrocities against Rohingya have taken place at all, saying that the refugees fled in fear after Rohingya militants attacked police posts in late August.

“The extremists incited villagers to go away saying the Burma army would come and kill them. They killed Hindus and other ethnic minorities. We could not find the death of any Muslim,” said Win Htein, a top adviser to Suu Kyi. “There is no genocide or ethnic cleansing.” … Witness accounts have been difficult to verify because the government has denied U.N. human rights investigators and others access to the area.

The exodus has riveted international attention on the plight of more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims long denied citizenship and other basic rights in Burma, a majority-Buddhist nation of 51 million people in Southeast Asia that is also known as Myanmar. …

At the same time the Rohingya fled, more than 30,000 Hindus, Buddhists and ethnic minorities were also displaced, with some fleeing south to Sittwe to take refuge in monasteries. In interviews, displaced villagers said they were afraid to return home because they feared the Rohingya insurgents whose attacks on police posts in their villages precipitated the crisis.

Muslim violence? Won’t hear about this on the ABC, where Islam is the religion of peace and “Allahu Akbar” means “God is great”. Burma understandably wishes to rid of itself of such a community, who are relative newcomers to Burma.

hat-tip Stephen Neil