> The soldiers told me, we will kill you.
Women who stayed behind tell Reuters in detail how soldiers raided their homes, looted property, and raped them at gun point. This account from a mother of seven outside her cramped bamboo hut.>>
Two men held me, one holding each arm and another one held me by my hair from the back and they raped me.>> Another woman says she was knocked off her feet by soldiers who repeatedly abused her.>>
We will not allow you to live in this country.>> But the government is denying the accusations while a Myanmar presidential spokesman argues, there's no logical way to commit rape in the middle of an 800-home village where insurgents are hiding. The crisis marks the biggest challenge yet to Myanmar's six-month old civilian government and raises questions over de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's ability to maintain control of the military.
Residents and activists say far more civilians have been killed than the 33 alleged militants acknowledged by official reports. Diplomats and UN officials tell Reuters privately that the insurgent uprising and the army response have shattered years of work building trust between Muslims and Buddhists in the region.