Mass grave of 28 Hindus found in Myanmar; Army blames Rohingya 'militants'

Rohingya refugees living in concrete pipes in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

Rohingya refugees living in concrete pipes in Cox's Bazar Bangladesh

The operation has been so sweeping and brutal that the United Nations says it likely amounts to "ethnic cleansing" of the Rohingya, almost 430,000 of whom have fled to Bangladesh in under one month.

Shamila clutches her daughter's hand so tightly it turns white as she recounts how soldiers broke into her home in Myanmar and gang-raped her in front of her children -a story heard over and over in Bangladesh refugee camps.

The military denies widespread reports it has committed atrocities, saying it only targeted those belonging to the militant Arakan Salvation Rohingya Army (Arsa) which launched the attacks. According to news agencies the information, however, is yet to be verified.

So far, Myanmar has granted only Red Cross organisations access to the area.

The Rohingya has resided in Myanmar since the 12th century, according to Al Jazeera.

Bangladesh now shelters over 800,000 Rohingya.

Buddhist-majority Burma regards the Rohingya Muslims as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

The United States wants Myanmar to take urgent action to end violence in Rakhine state, where a military offensive has created a crisis that could jeopardize its economic and political transition, a US official said on Friday.

European Rohingya Council said the perpetrators - whether they are from ARSA or Myanmar security forces - must be brought to justice.

The conflict that resulted has not just impacted the Rohingya, but surrounding ethnic groups as well.

Last week, the Red Cross ran into an angry mob, which believed that foreign aid agencies have ignored the suffering of Rakhine Buddhists in Myanmar's poorest state. The HindustanTimes has reported that hundreds have since fled to India.

It said 300 Arsa militants had rounded up about 100 villagers and killed a lot of them on 25 August, the same date as the start of the latest phase of the conflict, in claims attributed to an unnamed Yebawkya villager.

The Toronto man wondered how Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's leader and Nobel Peace Prize victor, could allow the violence to continue.

"I talked to people who had experienced the most unimaginable horrors", Grandi said.

Members of Burma's small Hindu minority appear to have been caught in the middle.

The level of influence Suu Kyi has over the country's military is questionable.

Ms Suu Kyi herself has not commented on the many allegations of sexual assault committed by the military against Rohingya women made public since late previous year.

In a separate development, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi said he was shocked by what he had seen during a visit to makeshift shelters for Rohingya in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has described the persecution of the Rohingya as "ethnic cleansing".

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