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Myanmar's army massacred Rohingyas, Now it wants their help

 Published: 15:13, 8 April 2024

Myanmar's army massacred Rohingyas, Now it wants their help

Nearly seven years after the Myanmar military killed thousands of Muslim Rohingyas, in what the UN called "textbook ethnic cleansing", it wants their help.

From interviews with Rohingyas living in Rakhine State the BBC has learned of at least 100 of them being conscripted in recent weeks to fight for the embattled junta. All their names have been changed to protect them.

"I was frightened, but I had to go," says Mohammed, a 31-year-old Rohingya man with three young children. He lives near the capital of Rakhine, Sittwe, in the Baw Du Pha camp. At least 150,000 internally displaced Rohingyas have been forced to live in IDP camps for the past decade.

In the middle of February the camp leader came to him late at night, Mohammed said, and told him he would have to do military training. "These are army orders," he remembers him saying. "If you refuse they have threatened to harm your family."

The BBC has spoken to several Rohingyas who have confirmed that army officers have been going around the camps and ordering the younger men to report for military training.

The terrible irony for men like Mohammed is that Rohingyas in Myanmar are still denied citizenship, and subjected to a range of discriminatory restrictions - like a ban on travel outside their communities.

In 2012 tens of thousands of Rohingyas were driven out of mixed communities in Rakhine State, and forced to live in squalid camps. Five years later, in August 2017, 700,000 fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, after the army launched a brutal clearance operation against them, killing and raping thousands and burning their villages. Some 600,000 of them still remain there. -Source: BBC

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