'They raped us one by one'
November 26, 2016
Rohingya woman reveals horror tale
Teknaf, Bangladesh -- The brutal gang rape that Habiba and her sister endured is a story that is becoming depressingly familiar among the thousands of Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh to escape the violence of Myanmar's soldiers.
"They tied both of us to the bed and raped us one by one," said 20-year-old Habiba, who has now found shelter with a Rohingya refugee family a few kilometres (miles) from the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.
"We're almost starving here. But at least no one is coming here to kill or torture," said Hashim Ullah, Habiba's older brother who escaped with his sisters.
Habiba and her sister Samira, 18, say they were raped in their home in Udang village by troops who then burnt down their house.
"They torched most of the houses, killed numerous people including our father and raped many young girls," said Habiba, who agreed to be identified in this story.
"One of the soldiers told us before leaving that they will kill us if they see us around the next time they come here. Then they torched our house."
|The satellite images released by Human Rights Watch show Wa Peik Village in Maungdaw District, Myanmar. The left picture was recorded in 2014 and the right one on November 10, 2016 show burnt out homes. Photo: AFP, Reuters|
Widespread allegations of rape have raised fears that Myanmar's security forces are systematically using sexual violence against the stateless Rohingya.
The violence has forced thousands to flee, prompting a UN official to accuse Myanmar of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" of the Muslim minority.
Similar stories of violence and dispossession fill the rows of plastic-roofed shacks that have become the only refuge for thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Rakhine state.
The escapees have told of gang rapes, torture and murder being carried out by Myanmar troops in the small strip of land that has been under military control after deadly raids on police border posts last month.
Foreign journalists and independent investigators have been barred from entering the area.
While the military and government have rejected the charges, rights groups have long accused the military of using rape as a weapon of war in several other ethnic conflicts which simmer in the country's borderlands.