Myanmar security forces have inflicted horrific abuses on the Rohingya population since October, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
The New York-based rights body observed that the Myanmar military has conducted a campaign of arson, killings, and rape against ethnic Rohingya people that has threatened the lives of thousands more.
The HRW made the conclusion based interview with a dozen Rohingya refugees who had recently arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing Rakhine State’s Maungdaw Township.
In video testimony, the HRW said, Rohingya residents described Myanmar soldiers using automatic weapons, looting and burning homes, killing villagers, including entire families, and raping women and girls.
“The military came into the village and shot indiscriminately whomever they found. Elderly and children were shot dead…. Many people were killed,” one of then psydonymed as “Kasim,” 26, was quoted to have said.
“[The soldiers] dragged the women from the houses by their hair. They took off the women’s clothes.... They raped them right there in the yard.”
Several refugees said that government security forces were sometimes accompanied on raids by ethnic Rakhine Buddhist civilians, and Mro or other non-Rohingya villagers, according to the HRW documentation.
It emphasised that governments with influence in Burma should press the military and civilian authorities to urgently end abuses and grant access.
“Refugee accounts paint a horrific picture of an army that is out of control and rampaging through Rohingya villages,” HRW’s Asia director Brad Adams said.
“The Burmese government says its crackdown is in response to a security threat, but what security advantage could possibly be gained by raping and killing women and children?”