Yangon, (OIC-UNA) - The Myanmar military systematically raped and killed several hundred minority Rohingya Muslims in a village in northern Rakhine State on August 30 this year, according to a report released Tuesday by Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The massacre took place in the village of Tula Toli in Maungdaw township, days after the military launched clearance operations in response to deadly militant attacks on police posts on August 25.
Since then, 655,000 Rohingya have fled across the border to Bangladesh, bringing with them reports of rape, killings, and arson that the UN has said could provide evidence of genocide.
The Burmese army's atrocities at Tula Toli were not just brutal, they were systematic, said HRW's Asia Director Brad Adams, using the old name for Myanmar, according to the rights watchdog's press release. Soldiers carried out killings and rapes of hundreds of Rohingya with a cruel efficiency that could only come with advance planning.
The 30-page report, titled "Massacre by the River: Burmese Army Crimes against Humanity in Tula Toli," was based on interviews with 18 survivors of the massacre who had fled to Bangladesh.
One survivor, 51-year old Mohammed Zakaria, told HRW that villagers gathered together on a beach next to the village for safety before the soldiers began killing. He was able to escape by swimming across the river.
He told HRW that soldiers started with the strongest men, they killed those with bullets.
"Some of the old people, they killed with their machetes, and the children among them were stabbed with knives, hit by machetes, and beaten with wooden sticks.
The killings went on for hours, according to witnesses, and the soldiers later gathered the bodies in large pits on the beach and burnt them with the help of ethnic Rakhine villagers.
The report comes a day after the Myanmar military announced unidentified bodies had been found in another part of northern Rakhine State.
An action would be taken in line with the law if security forces were found to be involved, a statement on the commander-in-chief's Facebook page said.
Source: International Islamic News Agency