- Two sources report on mass killings in the village of Chut Pyin
- Predictions up to hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas will now flee Myanmar
- Communal tensions erupted when 12 police officers were killed last week
The ABC has received specific allegations from two separate sources about mass killings in the village of Chut Pyin, near Rathedaung township in western Myanmar.
"So far reports — I think quite credible — mention about 130 people including women and children killed," Chris Lewa, director of The Arakan Project which works with Rohingya communities, said.
"That happened on Sunday when suddenly security forces cordoned [off] the whole area, together with Rakhine villagers ... it seems like this has been a major massacre in Rathedaung," Ms Lewa said.
Simmering communal tensions erupted last Friday when an insurgent group attacked police posts, killing 12 officers.
In figures released on Thursday, the Myanmar military said it has killed 370 insurgents across Rakhine State, in Myanmar's west, and confirmed the deaths of one more security force member, two government officials and 14 civilians.
But rights groups believe the civilian death toll to be much higher.
Security forces said they had killed at least 80 militants, but there are reports of widespread killing and arson across Rakhine State, in Myanmar's west.
A video provided to the ABC by a human rights monitor purportedly shows Chut Pyin village burning and in another clip mounds of freshly dug earth — allegedly the graves of those killed.
"This is where the dead bodies from Chut Pyin village were buried … they buried 10-20 bodies, putting two to three bodies in each pit," an unidentified man on the video said.
The graves were allegedly dug on Sunday night in the village of Ah Htet Nan Yar, south of Chut Pyin, with more bodies burned by security forces.
"So far they have recorded about 135 names on [the village] death list," the man in the video clip said.
Access to the area is blocked to foreign media so the ABC cannot independently verify the video or the allegations.
The ABC has requested comment from the Myanmar Government.
Hopes for change dashed by militant attack
In Myanmar, hatred for Rohingyas runs deep and periodically boils over into violence.
Rohingyas are a Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country.
The 1.1 million Rohingyas in Rakhine State are denied citizenship and live under apartheid-like conditions, despite many families living in Myanmar for generations.
About 120,000 Rohingyas live in camps for internally displaced persons, having fled previous violence, while a further 400,000 live in camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.
In October, some Rohingyas started to fight back, with a Saudi-funded insurgent group called Harakah al-Yaqin (Faith Movement) attacking police posts, killing nine officers.
The subsequent crackdown by security forces was brutal, with killings, gang rapes and arbitrary detention allegedly rife.
Last week, a Myanmar-mandated committee led by former UN chief Kofi Annan released a series of recommendations for improving the situation and for 36 hours there was a glimmer of hope.
But it did not last.
On Friday, the militants attacked again — now calling themselves the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) — this time hitting more than 25 police posts.
At least one Buddhist village was burned down by Rohingyas in subsequent days and 4,000 Buddhists have been evacuated from trouble spots.
In response, the security forces have sealed off the area, and there are allegations of large numbers of civilian deaths and dozens of Rohingya villages torched.
'Full blown initiative to eliminate Rohingyas'
Ms Lewa said the insurgent attacks play right into the hands of the military.
"It actually gives an opportunity for the authorities together with the Rakhine [vigilantes] to push out all the Rohingya out of northern Rakhine and so I think that's definitely ethnic cleansing," Ms Lewa said.
The United Nations said 38,000 Rohingyas had fled to Bangladesh since Friday, but Ms Lewa said that was just the beginning.
"I think we will see a massive exodus to Bangladesh — tens of thousands of people … perhaps hundreds of thousands of people that will end up in Bangladesh," she said.
In the past, some Rohingyas have tried to make it by boat to Australia to seek asylum.
Photographer and human rights monitor Saiful Huq Omi has followed this issue for more than a decade and said this latest round of violence appears to be unprecedented.
"Sometimes we have seen systematic rapes, torture, extortion and other tools have been used but this time it's a full-blown initiative to completely eliminate the Rohingyas out of their land," he said.
The Myanmar Government said it was conducting a justified military response to a terrorist threat but to many observers, the "clearance operation" has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing, if not genocide.