In the early morning hours of of Aug. 25, Abul Kalam, a bearded, 35-year-old Muslim religious teacher, was sitting in his village in Myanmar's Maungdaw township when the call came.
"Our commander ordered us to attack the military post in our village," he says.
So he did, along with about 150 other men, he says. All were members of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority, and many were volunteers recruited by a Rohingya militant group to fight against security forces.
Kalam — not his real name, but one he has asked us to use out of fear of retribution — says the attackers mostly used knives or homemade weapons. They had only two pistols, which they had seized from the security forces during a wave of attacks launched last October by the Rohingya militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
It didn't go well.
About 50 of Kalam's fellow fighters were killed. The next day, he says, the military came and burned his village to the ground. He and other survivors fled with their families, he says.
They now live in a tent, high on a hill, in one of many makeshift camps that have sprouted just across the border in Bangladesh.
The attack Kalam took part in was one of dozens of simultaneous attacks on security posts in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The Myanmar military responded brutally, in what the United Nations human rights chief called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing." And it has led to an exodus of more than half a million Rohingya to Bangladesh, something the U.N. says is "the world's fastest developing refugee crisis."