Myanmar says U.S. official barred from Rohingya conflict zone

Ahmed Ullah is a Rohingya refugee who lives in Kitchener

The UN says an estimated 391,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh in the last two-and-a-half weeks after fleeing their homes in Myanmar's violence-wracked Rakhine state.

The UN refugee agency said Friday it was appealing for $30 million (25 million euros) for the emergency humanitarian aid for Rohingya in Bangladesh.

Backing up the pictures, Amnesty said fire sensors also deployed on satellites had detected 80 large-scale blazes across northern Rakhine state since August 25, when the army launched "clearance operations" in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.

Since late August over 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar to escape a government offensive, according to United Nations estimates.

While almost 400,000 refugees have poured across the border into Bangladesh, fears have also been growing of a humanitarian crisis on the Myanmar side, but access for aid workers and reporters has been severely restricted.

Though the new influx has been particularly massive, Rohingyas have not spread too widely, senior Bangladesh Police officer Monir-uz-zaman said on Saturday. In Cox's Bazar, where there are concentrations of refugees, the camps of fortune now extend to loss of sight.

Myanmar rejects the accusations, saying its security forces are carrying out clearance operations to defend against the insurgents of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which claimed responsibility for the August 25 attacks and similar, though smaller, attacks in October.

"We urge the global community to step up humanitarian support and come up with help", Mohammed Abdiker, director of operations and emergencies for the worldwide Organisation for Migration, told a news conference in the Bangladeshi capital.

"Our field research backs what the satellite imagery has indicated - that the Burmese [Myanmar] military is directly responsible for the mass burning of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. There are reports of villages being burned to the ground and the military deliberately targeting civilians, but access to the region is limited, so the reports can't be independently verified.

Vaezi noted that Myanmar army troops kill Muslim men, take women and children into custody and set fire to their homes.

While Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is the de facto leader of the country, its the generals who continue to control national security policy. Most Rohingya are stateless.

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