Rangoon – The Burmese army carried out systematic killings and rape of several hundred Rohingya Muslims in Tula Toli village in Rakhine State on August 30, 2017, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The massacre was part of the military’s campaign of ethnic cleansing that has forced more than 645,000 Rohingya to flee to neighboring Bangladesh since late August.
The 30-page report, “Massacre by the River: Burmese Army Crimes against Humanity in Tula Toli,” details the security force attack on several thousand villagers in Tula Toli, known officially as Min Gyi. Human Rights Watch documents how security forces trapped Rohingya villagers along a riverbank and proceeded to kill and rape men, women, and children, and torch the village.
“The Burmese army’s atrocities at Tula Toli were not just brutal, they were systematic,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “Soldiers carried out killings and rapes of hundreds of Rohingya with a cruel efficiency that could only come with advance planning.”
The report draws on interviews in Bangladesh with 18 Rohingya survivors from Tula Toli, as well as Human Rights Watch’s broader investigation into the Burmese military’s operations against Rohingya villages, including interviews with more than 200 Rohingya refugees since September.
Military operations were launched following August 25 attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on security force outposts. On the morning of August 30, hundreds of uniformed Burmese soldiers and armed ethnic Rakhine villagers arrived in Tula Toli. Rohingya villagers, including residents of neighboring areas who had escaped to Tula Toli following attacks on their towns in previous days, fled to the wide bank of the river that borders the village on three sides. Many villagers told Human Rights Watch that the ethnic Rakhine local chairman had told them to gather at the beach, where he said they would be safe.
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