By Nicola Smith

The foreign minister of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, flew to Burma for emergency talks as pressure mounted on Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's leader, to resolve the humanitarian crisis.

The Nobel peace prize laureate is facing severe international criticism over her Government's treatment of about 1.1 million Rohingya, one of the world's most persecuted groups, in her country's restive Rakhine state.

Retno Marsudi, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, arrived in Burma's capital, Rangoon, as protesters in her own capital, Jakarta, launched a Molotov cocktail at the Burmese Embassy.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, said at the weekend that violence against the Muslim Rohingyas amounted to genocide, while British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned Suu Kyi that the oppression of the minority was "besmirching" her country's reputation.

About 73,000 Rohingya refugees have fled across the border from Burma, which is also known as Myanmar, to Bangladesh over the past week, with aid workers warning that relief camps can take no more.

Nearly 400 people have officially died since the exodus began on August 25 after Rohingya insurgents attacked Burmese paramilitary posts, in what they claimed was an attempt to protect their Muslim minority from persecution.

The military responded with sweeping "clearance operations", declaring the majority of casualties were militants. But Rohingya human rights activists countered that at least 1000, mainly civilians, had been massacred by government soldiers.

"There are 1000 confirmed Rohingya people who have been killed by the Burmese Army ... and that [death] toll may be much higher," claimed Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK.

"The military is burning down many villages. They are throwing children into the fire," he said.

Reports of civilian casualties were backed by an aid official in Bangladesh who told AP that more than 50 refugees had arrived with bullet injuries. Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described Rohingya being burned alive and bombs exploding near their homes.

Burma's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo / AP file
Burma's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Photo / AP file

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar admitted that "a total of 2625 houses from Kotankauk, Myinlut and Kyikanpyin villages and two wards in Maungtaw were burned down".


The Government has blamed the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa), the insurgent group that initially launched the coordinated attacks on military check posts a week ago.

However, Human Rights Watch said the Government had provided no evidence, and urged an independent investigation.

Human rights workers such as Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, have compared the crisis to the notorious massacres of Rwanda, Darfur and Kosovo.

"I have worked on Burma for the past 20 years... I have seen many tragedies. But the tragedy unfolding right now is one of the worst I have known," he said.