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Bangladesh stops more Rohingya taking risky trip to Malaysia

AFP  |  Cox's Bazar 

security forces stopped 22 Rohingya Muslims from being smuggled to by boat, officials said Monday, the second group in three days prevented from leaving squalid refugee camps.

Border Guard (BGB) forces found 11 women, 10 children and a man at a village on the coast, near the border with Myanmar, on Sunday. The 22 had paid traffickers up to $1,200 each to get a place on a small boat for the dangerous journey, a said. The people smugglers fled before security forces arrived.

About 740,000 of the Muslim minority fled for after a military clampdown in the Buddhist-majority nation in August 2017.

There were already 300,000 Rohingya already in Bangladesh where they are largely confined to the overflowing camps.

"The traffickers took whatever they could from the refugees," Asadud Zaman Chowdhury, BGB for the town of Teknaf, told AFP.

He added that it was possible many of the young women would have ended up in "forced prostitution".

It is the fourth time since November that Rohingya have been intercepted attempting to get a boat to Muslim-majority

On Friday, border guards stopped 30 Rohingya from boarding a boat and sent them back to their camps.

Authorities fear that more Rohingya will try to take boats to while the is calm up until the end of March.

Bangladesh's refugee said "an internationally organised racket" was preying on desperation in the Rohingya camps.

"The refugees are lured by false promises. They simply don't have any idea how dangerous these sea journeys can be," he told AFP.

People smugglers sent tens of thousands of Rohingya from the camps to Malaysia before Bangladesh launched a crackdown in 2015.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 17:50 IST