Bangkok-based Fortify Rights group said last week that Myanmar (Burmese) security forces in western Myanmar massacred at least 40 Rohingya Muslims the week before, including women and children. “The actual number of deaths may be higher but information is circumscribed by government-imposed restrictions on access to the area,” the group said.
The Government has denied the massacre said there was no evidence.
Fortify Rights said the violence began on January 9 when a group of Rohingya Muslims passing through Maungdaw were confronted by Buddhist Rakhine residents. On January 14, police and civilian Rakhines clashed with Rohingyas who allegedly killed a police officer, the rights group said.
Security forces and civilian Rakhines returned in the early morning of Jan 14 and attacked villagers, mostly women and children who had not yet fled.
Matthew Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights, called on the Government to give humanitarian aid workers, independent observers and journalists unfettered access to Du Char Yar Tan village in Northern Rakhine state, which has been emptied and sealed off since the January 14 incident.
The reported deaths would bring to more than 280 the number of people killed, most of them members of the country’s long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim community. Another 250,000 people have fled their homes.