Thousands of Rohingya escape Myanmar in August over buddhist violence
Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since violence erupted in Myanmar in August, pressuring scarce resources of aid agencies and communities already helping hundreds of thousands of refugees from previous spasms of violence in Myanmar.
The violence in Myanmar was set off by a coordinated attack on Aug. 25 on dozens of police posts and an army base by Rohingya insurgents. The ensuing clashes and a major military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people.
Myanmar officials blamed the Rohingya militants for the burning of homes and civilian deaths but rights monitors and Rohingya fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh say a campaign of arson and killings by the Myanmar army aims to force them out.
The treatment of Buddhist-majority Myanmar’s roughly 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya is the biggest challenge facing leader Aung San Suu Kyi, accused by Western critics of not speaking out for the minority that has long complained of persecution.
The number of those crossing the border – 87,000 – surpassed the total of Rohingya who escaped Myanmar after a much smaller insurgent attack in October that set off a military operation beset by accusations of serious human rights abuses.
The newest estimate, based on the calculations of United Nations’ aid workers in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox’s Bazar, takes to nearly 150,000 the total number of Rohingya who have sought refuge in Bangladesh since October.