The Human Rights Watch on Monday said 40 Rohingya Muslim villages in Myanmar had been destroyed in October and November. The global NGO said a total of 354 Rohingya villages had been either partially or completely destroyed since August 25 this year, when Rohingya militants allegedly attacked police posts in the restive Rakhine state.

Satellite imagery showed that dozens of buildings were burned the same week that Bangladesh signed an agreement with Myanmar to repatriate refugees, HRW said. “The Burmese Army’s destruction of Rohingya villages within days of signing a refugee repatriation agreement with Bangladesh shows that commitments to safe returns were just a public relations stunt,” the organisation’s Asia Director Brad Adams said.

Security forces in Myanmar targeted the Rohingya villages of Myo Mi Chang, Myin Baw, Goke Pi and an unknown one in the village tract of Zee Pin Chaung in November, Human Rights Watch said, adding that it had monitored over 1,000 villages and towns in the townships of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathiduang using satellite imagery.

Since late August, the Myanmar military massacred people and also raped, arbitrarily arrested and set ablaze hundreds of predominantly Rohingya villages in the country’s Rakhine state, Human Rights Watch said, adding that 6.55 lakh Rohingyas had fled the country since August.