Amnesty International reveal images which they claim shows Rohingya villages being burned today

Amnesty International has claimed that Myanmar security forces and local vigilante mobs are still burning Rohingya villages in Burma, despite assertions by the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi that they had stopped.

The group say they have seen three new videos taken inside Rakhine State in Burma this afternoon which show "large plumes of smoke" rising from Rohingya villages, one of which was deserted.

They also have satellite imagery supplied by DigitalGlobe which shows smoke visible over what they believe are "burnt-out structures".

Amnesty said: "Local sources in northern Rakhine State claim the fires were started by members of the Myanmar security forces and local vigilante mobs."

One of the videos taken yesterday near the village of Hpar Wat Chaung village shows "a large plume of smoke" rising from a settlement amid a group of trees, the group claims.

They say a local resident from northern Maungdaw township told them that Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) and vigilante groups started the fires that afternoon, and that there were further burning operations that same evening.

In satellite imagery of Hpar Wat Chaung from September 16 and 22 reviewed by Amnesty International, smoke is visible in the later image.

They say the photo "clearly showed the village had been set ablaze and structures standing just days earlier had been burnt to the ground", and also claim that satellite sensors detected a recent active fire in the village.

They also claim to have seen two more videos showing another village ablaze, Nga Yant Chaung, this afternoon, which a source told them started between 1.30pm and 2pm local time.

Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: "This damning evidence from the ground and from space flies in the face of Aung Suu Kyi’s assertions to the world that what she called military ‘clearance operations’ in Rakhine State ended on 5 September. Almost three weeks later, we can see in real time how there is no let-up in the campaign of violence against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State.

"Rohingya homes and villages continue to burn, before, during and after their inhabitants take flight in terror.

"Not satisfied with simply forcing Rohingya from their homes, authorities seem intent on ensuring they have no homes to return to.

"The time has come and gone for giving Myanmar’s military and political leadership the benefit of the doubt. The international community must be unequivocal in its condemnation and take effective action to halt this ethnic cleansing campaign as well as bring the perpetrators to account.”

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