Four years ago, I was in Myanmar’s Rakhine State soon after deadly violence erupted between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and stateless Rohingya Muslims. It was a horrendous scene. And it’s happening again.
Back then, Buddhist civilians and state security forces unleashed coordinated attacks against Rohingya and other Muslims. I documented pre-dawn raids and cold-blooded massacres.
In a small village in Mrauk-U Township on October 23, 2012, 70 Rohingya were killed, including 28 children — 13 under the age of 5. Children were hacked to death. Some were thrown into fires.
Entire villages were razed; smoke billowed from homes and mosques in 13 of 17 townships statewide and bodies were disposed in mass graves, none of which have been exhumed for forensic purposes. I personally documented four separate mass gravesites.
At the time, an unpublished United Nations investigation obtained by Al Jazeera’s investigative unit, found more than 100 Rohingya women and girls were raped. The authorities then corralled more than 130,000 Rohingya into more than 40 squalid interment camps, where they remain confined today.
This all happened under former President Thein Sein, a longtime military general lauded by the West as a reformer.
Now Nobel-laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is State Counselor, the de facto head of state –and the same atrocities are happening again.