'Staggering' Numbers From MSF on Rohingya Killings

Aid group's field survey finds at least 6.7K were killed between August and September in Myanmar
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 14, 2017 10:15 AM CST
In this Sept. 25, 2017, file photo, Rohingya Muslims wait to receive aid near a refugee camp in Bangladesh.   (AP Photo/Dar Yasin, File)

(Newser) – Doctors Without Borders' field survey has found at least 6,700 Rohingya Muslims were killed between August and September in a crackdown by Myanmar's security forces, reports the AP. The group, known by its French acronym MSF, said Thursday that it conducted the survey in refugee camps in Bangladesh. It estimated that at least 9,000 Rohingya had died of various causes in Myanmar's Rakhine state between Aug. 25 and Sept. 24, and that more than 70% of the deaths were the result of violence. The dead included at least 730 children younger than 5. More than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar into Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing." "The peak in deaths coincides with the launch of the latest 'clearance operations' by Myanmar security forces in the last week of August," MSF medical director Sidney Wong said.

Wong noted the findings were staggering, both in terms of the numbers of people who reported a family member dead as a result of violence and the horrific ways in which they said they were killed or severely injured. MSF said that among children under the age of 5, more than 59% who were killed during that period were reportedly shot, 15% burnt to death in their homes, 7% beaten to death, and 2% killed in land mine blasts. Myanmar's Information Ministry has said that 400 people died following attacks by a militant Rohingya group on police posts on Aug. 25. It said most of the 400 were "extremist terrorists" who died during military "clearance operations." MSF said the number of deaths is likely to be an underestimation "as we have not surveyed all refugee resettlements in Bangladesh and because the surveys don't account for the families who never made it out of Myanmar."


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