Thousands of Rohingya Muslims have struck out from their homes for the Bangladesh border in an attempt to escape the worsening crisis in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state.
The exodus follows two days of fighting in Rakhine, which broke out after Rohingya militants attacked 30 police stations there on Friday. At least 100 people — mostly insurgents — were killed in ensuing clashes that carried over into Saturday, the BBC reports.
Majority-Buddhist Rakhine State is home to an estimated 1.1 million Rohingya — an effectively stateless Muslim minority that has suffered decades of persecution from the Burmese. In October last year, an attack on police outposts by suspected Rohingya militants prompted Myanmar’s military to launch counter terrorism operations in the state. Accusations of ethnic persecution, killings, rape, and torture soon followed.
Earlier this month Myanmar’s Military — which the U.N. is currently investigating for human rights abuses — dispatched hundreds more troops to Rakhine to bolster counterinsurgency efforts there.
Agence France-Presse reports that since Friday an estimated 3,000 Rohingya have been able to enter Bangladesh and find refuge in camps and villages.
Meanwhile, the Myanmar military has evacuated around 4,000 non-Muslims to protect them from the fighting.