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Buddhists attacking Muslims and forcing them to flee in their hundreds of thousands.

A Nobel Peace Prize-winning leader not speaking out while her government’s military carries out ethnic cleansing.

The desperate plight of the Rohingya registers on our news from time to time, but never before like this.

The suspicion of an increasing number of observers is that Myanmar’s military has decided to deal with its Rohingya problem once and for all.

The Rohingya are Muslims, seen by the ethnic Burmese they live among as outsiders, even though many have lived inside Myanmar’s borders for generations.

:: ‘All hell breaks loose’ in Rohingya camps

Food and medicines are in desperately short supply for the Rohingya refugees Video: Desperate Rohingya arrive in Bangladesh

There have been tensions and frictions for years and like many minorities the Rohingya have been persecuted as an ethnic minority.

Things started to come to a head on 15 August when Rohingya militants who say they are defending their kind from oppression launched a coordinated attack on the Myanmar military’s positions, killing a number of soldiers.

The military launched a clearance operation to root out the militants.

They appear to have employed a strategy as old as it is illegal under the rules of war.

Like the British during the Boer War, they appear to have sought to deprive the militants of cover the civilian population affords them.

The militants cannot hide among the Rohingya if the Rohingya are no longer there.

:: Rohingya wait in no man’s land amid landmine fears

Children are among those stuck at the camp Video: Rohingya refugees trapped by landmines and Burmese soldiers

A systematic campaign to burn the Rohingya out of the villages and force them to flee in terror appears to be under way, involving the Myanmar military and local militia.

The government of Myanmar insists every single attack on a Rohingya village has been carried out by the militants in a cynical campaign to attract international outrage and support to their cause.

This, says the UN Human Rights Council, is a complete denial of reality.

What we are seeing in Rakhine Province, it says, appears to be textbook ethnic cleansing.

Making matters worse, a humanitarian disaster is looming, as it always does when hundreds of thousands of people are displaced into a country already barely able to feed its own people.

And where is Aung San Suu Kyi in all this?

For months she was silent.

:: The grim reality for Rohingya fleeing Myanmar

Video: Rohingya refugees describe ‘tales of horror’

When she spoke out she said there was misinformation about what was happening and blamed Rohingya terrorists.

She has an uneasy relationship with the military who locked her up for so many years.

She may be the leader of the country but the military officially has been able to maintain much of its power. They could reverse the democratic progress if she was too vocal in her criticisms.

Her supporters say she is working behind the scenes to ease the plight of the Rohingyas.

Others are not convinced and say her only outburst on the issue took sides, so clearly she has lost all credibility.

The tragic truth is that even if she did have more power and the will to exercise it, it is already too late for the thousands who have died – and too late for the hundreds of thousands who face a looming humanitarian crisis in camps that will be perfect breeding grounds for disease.

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

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