Myanmar's four-month military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims has likely killed hundreds of people, the UN said Friday in a report detailing horrific abuses allegedly committed against civilians in Rakhine state.

“The 'area clearance operations' have likely resulted in several hundred deaths,” said the report from the United Nations human rights office, referring to the military crackdown launched on October 10.

The report based on interviews with 204 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh said it was “very likely” that crimes against humanity had been committed in Myanmar, echoing similar accusations made by UN officials.

Victims recounted gruesome violations allegedly perpetrated by members of Myanmar's security services or civilian fighters working alongside the military and police.

“An eight-month-old baby was reportedly killed while his mother was gang-raped by five security officers,” the rights office said in a press release, citing witness accounts.

The UN also said it had reports of three children aged six or younger being “slaughtered with knives”.

“What kind of hatred could make a man stab a baby crying out for his mother's milk,” UN rights chief Zeid bin Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein said in the statement.

“What kind of 'clearance operation' is this? What national security goals could possibly be served by this?”, he added.

A full 47 percent of those interviewed by the UN said they had a family member who had been killed in the operation, while 43 percent reported being raped.

The Rohingya are loathed by many among Myanmar's Buddhist majority.

Yangon refuses to recognise the Rohingya as one of the country's ethnic minorities, instead describing them as Bengalis -- or illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh -- even though many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

The military crackdown in Rakhine, home to more than one million Rohingya, was triggered by a series of October 9 attacks on border guard posts.

Yangon's own probe into the unrest denied that the security forces had carried out a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya.

Myanmar's government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has said the allegations are invented and has resisted mounting international pressure to protect the minority.

But Zeid, who has previously urged Yangon to act, hit back again on Friday demanding that impunity for such serious crimes had to stop.

“The Government of Myanmar must immediately halt these grave human rights violations against its own people, instead of continuing to deny they have occurred,” he said.

Opinion

Editorial

Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.
Ominous demands
Updated 18 May, 2024

Ominous demands

The federal government needs to boost its revenues to reduce future borrowing and pay back its existing debt.
Property leaks
18 May, 2024

Property leaks

THE leaked Dubai property data reported on by media organisations around the world earlier this week seems to have...
Heat warnings
18 May, 2024

Heat warnings

STARTING next week, the country must brace for brutal heatwaves. The NDMA warns of severe conditions with...