In what is believed to be a major crackdown on insurgents in Myanmar (Burma), activist groups have accused the government's forces of burning down Rohingya Muslim villages and shooting at civilians in the troubled Rakhine State.

Violence in the region has forced thousands to evacuate and cross the Bangladeshi border for safety. Cramped in refugee camps, these asylum seekers face the dangers of epidemics and the possible wrath of the Bangladesh army who want to turn them away. Several videos have been posted online that show b widespread burning of buildings in the Maungdaw township in the northern part of Rakhine State.

Statement Released

An English language statement by the Burmese Information Ministry has put the blame on Rohingya Muslim insurgents.

"Extremist terrorists blew out improvised bombs, set fire the villages and attacked the police outposts in Region-2 of Maungdaw yesterday from the morning to afternoon," the statement read.

A web based news outlet serving the Rohingya community called the Arakan Times estimates that border guards along with the Burmese army burned down around a thousand homes.

It has been difficult to examine the veracity of these contradicting reports as the Myanmar government has denied most journalists access to the region.

Although the cause of fire has not been ascertained yet, New York based Human Rights Watch are adamant that satellite images emerging in the aftermath clearly show burning in at least ten different areas in Northern Rakhine State.

Second major incident this month

This fresh violence comes on the back of a major battle between the insurgents and security forces last week that left more than seventy people dead. The casualty report confirmed at least 59 dead insurgents and twelve government soldiers also lost their lives. The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, took full responsibility for the coordinated attacks on multiple police and military outposts last week.

Violence in Rakhine State has increased steadily in recent months, with former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, who now heads the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, demanding urgent action to improve the socio-economic welfare of the people who are affected by the conflicts.

The Rakhine State hosts more than one million Rohingya people - a predominantly Muslim community who have been known to face severe oppression at the hands of the Myanmar government.