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21 Sep 2017 15:05
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  •   Home > News > International

    Rohingya: Videos purportedly show burned bodies, children shot by police in Myanmar

    As tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya escape Myanmar, videos emerge purporting to show villages being burned and the bodies of children allegedly shot by police.


    Just inside Myanmar, where Islam and Buddhism collide, thousands of desperate Muslim families are on the move.

    About 300,000 Rohingya civilians have fled to Bangladesh since late August. Many people have died trying to get out, including children and infants, according to this unverified footage.

    Warning: the videos in this story contain graphic images.

    In the video, a family has made it to the Bangladesh side of the Naf River, but distraught relatives are pulling dead children from the water — shot, according to the living, by Myanmar police during the crossing.

    Videos like these have made their way to relatives living in Australia, including community leader Anwar Sha, who has lost touch with family back home.

    "I hear one of [my] sisters has already crossed to Bangladesh, but two others sisters — I have not heard about them," he said.

    "There is no contact with them and I don't know where they are."

    Over the past two weeks, he has received numerous videos shot by Rohingya civilians and a small number of journalists.

    "There are about 30,000 people trapped" in the hills far from Bangladesh, he said.

    "They have no food, they have no shelter. They are just dying there.

    "As soon as they try to go out of there, group by group, the military and the police are attacking them and slaughtering them."

    Satellite imagery backs claims that thousands of Rohingya homes have gone up in flames since August 25.

    "We're seeing villages being burned to the ground on a scale that hasn't been seen before," Kayleigh Long, a freelance journalist who has reported on the Rohingya, told Lateline.

    "There are reports coming out of people fleeing, the army firing indiscriminately; people are just fleeing with whatever they have and in many cases everything has burned."

    According to Mr Sha, this video, filmed by Myanmar TV, shows his own childhood village going up in flames.

    "I had a dream one day I was going to go to my village," he said.

    "I don't have hope any more."

    In this video, several apparently terrified families huddle together in the forest.

    The man who is filming prays for help: "Oh father, try for us, save our life."

    Mr Sha said he did not know if these people were still alive. An estimated 1,000 Rohingya have been killed over the past two weeks.

    In this video, five charred bodies lay amongst the smoking remains of a home.

    A villager said they were burnt alive by police and Buddhist extremists a few days ago.

    The Myanmar Government says Rohingya are burning down their own homes.

    But Rakhine state is closed off from the world — beyond the reach of aid groups, UN observers and all but a few tightly controlled journalists.

    'Undoubtedly a genocide' researcher says

    Ronan Lee, who is researching a PhD on the Rohingya at Deakin University, said the current situation would play dreadfully for ordinary Rohingya civilians in Rakhine state.

    "Myanmar's military will undertake their clearance operation until they decide it's time to stop it," he said.

    "It's undoubtedly a genocide and it doesn't look like it will be resolved any time soon.

    "You have all the elements for a long-term catastrophe."

    Watch the story on Lateline tonight at 9:30 on ABC News or 10:30 on ABC TV.

    © 2017 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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