Nearly 11,400 Rohingya died in Myanmar’s Rakhine State in the month following upsurge of violence on August 25 this year, a survey by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has found.
Of these, 8,170 deaths were due to violence. Among the victims were 1,247 children under five years of age.
The findings were based on six retrospective surveys of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape violence — four in the northern settlements of Kutupalong and Balukhali and two in southern settlements of Balukhali 2 and Tasnimarkhola.
Some 647,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since August. Using simple random sampling and systemic sampling methods, the survey teams interviewed 2,434 households representing 11,426 people and recorded the date, location and cause of death of family members during the period.
MSF says the survey results point to widespread violence by Myanmar authorities who claim that only 400 were killed and most of them were Rohingya terrorists.
The military crackdown began on August 25 after Rohingya ARSA militants attacked more than 30 police posts.
Myanmar authorities ordered a farcical inquiry into the deaths in November and concluded that the army had no role in civilian killings, rape, arson and loot.
In September, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described the attacks on Rohingya as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
MSF Medical Director Sidney Wong says the accounts of those interviewed during the survey are shocking.
According to the survey, 69% of the victims died of gunshot wounds, 8.8% were burned to death in their homes, 5% were beaten to death and 2.6% were killed after rape.
Among the dead children below the age of five, more than 59% were reportedly shot, 15% burnt to death, 7% beaten to death and 2% killed by landmine blasts.
MSF has expressed grave concern after Bangladesh signed a deal with Myanmar in November to return hundreds of thousands of the refugees. The group says Rohingya are still fleeing Myanmar amid violence.
Rohingya are a Muslim minority facing persecution in Myanmar. The government has denied them citizenship and view them as Bengali Muslims.