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18,000 Rohingya flee violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh

Myanmar government blames Rohingya insurgents for the violence

AP | PTI  |  Cox's Bazar 

Members of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority who were pushed back by Bangladeshi border guards earlier in the day rush back to the Bangladeshi side upon hearing gun shots from the Myanmar side in, Ghumdhum, Bangladesh. Photo: AP/PTI
Members of Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority who were pushed back by Bangladeshi border guards earlier in the day rush back to the Bangladeshi side upon hearing gun shots from the Myanmar side in, Ghumdhum, Bangladesh. Photo: AP/PTI

The Organisation for Migration said on Wednesday that 18,000 Muslims have fled fresh violence in and crossed into Bangladesh, with "hundreds and hundreds" stranded in no man's land at the countries' border.

Sanjukta Sahany, a spokeswoman for the IOM in Cox's Bazar, on the border with Myanmar, released the latest figures as human rights groups and advocates for the say the army was retaliating for attacks by militants by burning down villages and shooting civilians.


The government blames insurgents for the violence, including the arson. The official death toll in the violence was 96 as of Sunday, and the actual number is likely to be higher.

A majority of Myanmar's estimated 1 million live in the northern part of Rakhine state, where they have faced persecution in the Buddhist-majority country.

Last week, insurgents launched coordinated attacks against police posts, setting off retaliation by government forces.

Sahany said the crisis was not an issue between and but of concern.

Ali Hossain, Cox's Bazar district's top government official, told The Associated Press that their resources were under huge stress after some 87,000 entered since October last year and now another 18,000 in just one week.

"I have already informed the government's high-ups about the trouble we are facing here," he said. "This is a very complex situation."

In another development, police said a boat carrying an unknown number of capsized in the Naf River, leaving at least four dead. The boat was trying to enter through Shah Porir Island in the Bay of Bengal when it sank, said police official Main Uddin.

He said they recovered four bodies and "most probably" many were missing.

"Our search is on. We don't know how many were on the boat," he said.

Also Wednesday, Bangladesh's border guards turned back 171 after detaining them at different border points over the last two days, said Col. S.M. Ariful islam, a director of the Border Guard

He said that border guards provided them with food and medicine before pushing them back, but it was not clear what happened to them later.

refuses to recognize as a legitimate native ethnic minority and has denied citizenship and rights to most of them.

First Published: Wed, August 30 2017. 17:55 IST
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