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Refugees from Myanmar Printer friendly page Print This
By Staff Writers | teleSUR
Monday, Nov 27, 2017

Bullets and Burns: Portraits of Injured Rohingya Refugees

Refugees fleeing military violence in Myanmar have narrated horrrific accounts of rape, assault, torture and murder.

Nearly 600,000 Rohingya have been displaced from Myanmar's Rakhine state in the exodus described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" by the United Nations.

The Muslim refugees fleeing military violence have narrated horrrific accounts of rape, assault, torture and murder. Many have suffered serious injuries, burns, physical and mental trauma.

Aerial footage from October shows thousands of men, women and children amassing on Bangladesh's borders, their lives in limbo, waiting to enter squalid makeshift camps bereft of even the most basic amenities.

Forced to abandon homes and loved ones, refugees have described how they endured the horrific journey to safety through forests and over mountains, across rivers and seas.

Anwara Begum, 36, said she awoke to find her home in Maungdaw township, in the northernmost part of Rakhine state, in flames. Before she could get out, the burning roof caved in on her and her nylon clothes melted onto her arms. Her husband carried her for eight days to reach the Kutupalong camp. "I thought I was going to die. I tried to stay alive for my children,” she said, still waiting for treatment for her burns. Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Her face heavily bandaged, Momtaz Begum told how soldiers came to her village demanding valuables. “I told them I was poor and had nothing. One of them started beating me, saying, ‘If you have no money, then we will kill you’.” After beating her, they locked her in her home and set fire to the roof. She escaped to find her three sons dead and her daughter beaten and bleeding. Momtaz fled to Bangladesh, where she spent 20 days at the MSF clinic being treated for burns to her face and body. "What can I say about the future, if now we have no food, no house, no family? We cannot think about the future. They have killed that as well.” Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Kalabarow, 50, at Leda refugee camp in Bangladesh. Her husband, daughter and one son were killed when soldiers fired on Kalabarow’s village in Maungdaw. The 50-year-old was hit in her right foot. For several hours, she lay where she fell, pretending to be dead, before a grandson found her. During their 11-day journey to Bangladesh, a village doctor amputated her infected foot and four men carried her on a stretcher made of bamboo and a bedsheet. “As we walked through the forest, we saw burnt villages and dead bodies. I thought we would never be safe,” she said. Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Nur Kamal, 17, shows his injuries. Bowing to display the deep cuts arcing across his scalp, Kamal described how soldiers assaulted him after they found the young shopkeeper hiding in his home in Kan Hpu village in Maungdaw. “They hit me with a rifle butt on my head first and then with a knife,” Kamal said. His uncle found him unconscious in a pool of blood. It took them two weeks to get to Bangladesh. “We want justice,” Kamal said. “We want the international community to help us obtain justice.” Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Imam Hossain, 42, sleeps on the ground at Kutupalang refugee camp in Bangladesh. His right arm swathed in bandages from the knuckles of his hand to well above the elbow, Hossain lay exhausted on the roadside near the Kutupalong camp. He was returning home after teaching at a madrassa in his village when three men attacked him with knives. The next day, he made his wife and two children leave with other villagers fleeing to Bangladesh. He reached Cox’s Bazar later. He was still searching for his family. “I want to ask the Myanmar government why they are harming the Rohingya,” he said. “Why do Buddhists hate us? Why do you torture us? What is wrong with us?” Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Curled up in a ball, 11-year-old Allah shows a large, livid scar on his right thigh: the result of a gunshot wound. “They sprayed us with bullets as our house was burning,” his mother Samara said. “It was a bullet half the size of my index finger. I can’t stop thinking, why did God put us in that dangerous situation?” Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Setara Begum, 12, poses for a photograph at Nayapara refugee camp in Bangladesh. Setara was among nine siblings in their home in Maungdaw when it was hit by a rocket. “I saved eight of my nine children from the burning house, but Setara was trapped inside,” said her mother, Arafa. “I could see her crying in the middle of the fire, but it was difficult to save her. By the time we could reach her, she was badly burned.” Setara’s father carried her for two days to Bangladesh. The young girl received no treatment for the severe burns to her feet and she lost her toes. The trauma has scarred her psychologically. “She has been mute from that day, and doesn’t speak to anyone,” her mother said. “She only cries silently.” Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

Mohamed Jabair, 21, show injuries he sustained when his house was set on fire in Myanmar. Suffering burns to his limbs and torso, Jabair feared he had also lost his sight in an explosion that ripped through his village home. Knocked unconscious and badly burned, Jabair was carried by his brother and others for four days to Cox's Bazar. "I was blind for many weeks and admitted to a government hospital in Cox's Bazar for 23 days. I was frightened that I would be blind forever," he said. Jabair said money sent by relatives in Malaysia had run out and he could no longer afford treatment. Photo:Reuters/ Jorge Silva

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