"I SAW MY SON BURNING INTO FLAMES WHILE I WAS BEING RAPED"



This is the story of Rajuma, the Rohingya Muslim woman who was interviewed recently by the Al Jazeera English News network.


Rajuma Begum, 20, survived the August 30 massacre in Tula Toli, believed to have been one of the most brutal incidents of Myanmar army violence. Villagers were taken to a beach by the river where the men were separated from the women and children and then gunned down, hacked to death and bayoneted.


Rajuma was holding her son, Mohammed Saddique, in her arms, when four or five soldiers began taking women away in groups of five to seven.


"They took me along with another four women inside a house," Rajuma recounted, speaking at a school in Kutupalong refugee camp.


"They ripped my son from my arms and threw him [on the ground], one of the Burmese soldiers then threw her baby son to the fire, I could hear him screaming as he was burning" she said, before burying her head in her hands and starting to wail.


"I am thirsty to hear someone calling me 'ma'," Rajuma said between sobs. "I had a younger brother who is 10 years old. I'm sorry to him because they took him and I couldn't save him."


Rajuma was he ld in a room with three other mothers, one teenage girl and one woman who was about 50 years old. The soldiers raped them all except the older woman. Rajuma was raped by two men for what she said felt like two or three hours.


Afterwards, they beat the women with wooden sticks, then flashed torches on them three times to make sure they were dead. The soldiers locked them inside the house and set fire to it.


It was the heat from the blaze that made Rajuma regain consciousness. She was able to break through the bamboo walls and escape. She hid on a hill for a day and when she came out on the other side encountered three other women from her village and an orphan.


Naked, she dressed herself in clothes abandoned by fleeing Rohingya. When she crossed the border, a Bangladeshi helped her get to Kutapalong where she was treated at a clinic. In Bangladesh, Rajuma, who was gang raped by Myanmar soldiers and witnessed the murder of her infant son, was reunited with her husband in Kutupalong refugee camp.

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