A wave of ethnic violence in western Myanmar has devastated a whole region, burning villages and communities to the ground and leaving scores dead. Most of the victims are said to be Rohingya Muslims.
The government has sent in troops but the long-standing hostility between the stateless Rohingya who are regarded as illegal immigrants and the local non-Muslims, continues to threaten to erupt.
Most of the destruction has been centred on the once thriving coastal community of Kyaukpyu, an industrial zone in Rakhine state.
Human Rights Watch have released satellite pictures showing a district once closely packed with houses and other buildings, but the same area more recently photographed revealed it completely destroyed.
Human Rights Watch, Tom Malinowski explained that the actions of the old military government of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, may have come to haunt them.
“Sometimes dictators single out ethnic or religious minorities in their country for special hatred in order to distract people from the abuses of their own government and that’s what the Burmese government did for decades.”
Although the authorities have visited the area analysts suggest the quasi-civilian government is struggling to contain the situation.
Refugee camps have been set up outside Rakhine for those Rohingya who have managed to escape.