YANGON (Reuters) - A Rohingya Muslim armed group denied on Friday a report by human rights group Amnesty International that its members had killed scores of Hindu civilians last August, amid a surge in violence in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine State.
In its report, published this week, Amnesty documented in detail atrocities it said had been committed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) near a remote village in Rakhine State.
The report, citing witnesses, including Hindu women who said they were abducted by ARSA insurgents, said fighters from the group killed as many as 99 Hindus near Kha Maung Seik after launching the raids on security posts on August 25.
“We categorically deny all of these unjustifiable and careless serious criminal accusations mentioned in the said report,” ARSA said in a statement signed by its leader Ata Ullah and posted on social media network Twitter late on Friday.
Myanmar’s military response to the Rohingya insurgent attacks have driven nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee from northern Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh, in what the United Nations and aid agencies have called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
Myanmar has rejected the accusations of ethnic cleansing, as well as most of the accounts of killings and rape recounted by many of the refugees arriving in Bangladesh.
Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said the group “absolutely stands by the findings” of its investigation and urged Myanmar authorities to allow unfettered access to northern Rakhine for U.N. and other independent investigators.
Reporting by Yimou Lee, Sam Aung Moon and Simon Lewis; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Gareth Jones