About 1,00,000 persecuted Rohingyas of Myanmar are waiting along the border to enter Bangladesh as at least 146,000 members of the Muslim majority ethnic group crossed the border in less than two weeks since August 25.
Six more bodies of Rohingyas, including three children and two women, were recovered at Shah Parir Dwip point in Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar Wednesday, raising the death toll to 63 in boat capsizes since August 29.
MS Kabir, Bangladesh Coast Guard contingent commander at Shah Parir Dwip, confirmed that six more bodies of Rohingyas were recovered in the morning.
Quoting Rohingyas, fleeing persecution by the Myanmar army, the coast guard official said three boats carrying over a hundred Rohingyas capsized in Bangladesh water early Wednesday amid a storm.
He feared more deaths in the incident.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Rohingyas were entering Bangladesh through Shah Parir Dwip, Shamlapur, Unsi Prang, Kanjarpara, Lambabil points under Teknaf, Chepatkhali under Ukhia.
The new arrivals are suffering from hunger and shortage of drinking water, sanitation and shelter, according to local people, who claimed that they provided what insufficient amount of food and drinking water they had for the victims.
Border Guard Bangladesh’s lieutenant colonel Manjurul Hassan Khan confirmed that locals found five bullet-injured Rohingas along Bangladesh coast and rescued them on Wednesday afternoon.
Shah Parir Dwip Coast Guard said they had seized 52 boats for ferrying Rohingyas into Bangladesh on Wednesday. They also said at least 200 boats are engaged in ferrying Rohingyas.
At least 4,00,000 Rohingyas were trapped in Myanmar conflict zones, according to international agencies.
The government on Wednesday summoned Myanmar charge de affairs Aung Myint in Dhaka and lodged strong protest against ‘unprecedented’ level of influx of Myanmar nationals to Bangladesh since August 25.
In a protest note handed over to the Myanmar diplomat, the foreign ministry expressed concern at the reported laying down of anti-personnel landmine close to the zero line of the border by Myanmar security forces.
The Myanmar authorities, according to Reuters, have been laying landmines across a section of its border with Bangladesh.
The purpose may be to prevent the return of the Rohingyas fleeing violence, it said.
At least 3,000 Rohingyas were killed and about 10,000 houses burnt in the ongoing spate of violence in Rakhine State, according to officials of international humanitarian agencies.
The government started on Wednesday keeping the Rohingyas together at a specific 50 acre area in Cox’s Bazar with a view to refrain them from mingling with Bangladeshis, additional district magistrate of the tourism district Khaled Mahmud, also the focal person on Rohingya issue, told New Age.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Emine Erdogan, first lady of the country, were scheduled to reach Dhaka on Wednesday night to meet Rohingya Muslims who fled persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque said.
They would go to Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday before meeting prime minister Sheikh Hasina. Emine Erdogan is likely to carry token relief for Rohingyas in her special flight, officials said.
International Organisation for Migration director of operations and emergencies Mohammed Abdiker said in a tweet on Wednesday afternoon that at least 1,46,000 Rohingyas entered Bangladesh since August 25.
At least 2,33,000 minority Muslims, according to UN estimates, widely known as Rohingyas, who fled indiscriminate killing, rape, arson and violence by Myanmar security forces in Rakhine state, entered Bangladesh by July since October 9, 2016.
Some three lakh Myanmar nationals have been living in a refugee-like-situation in makeshift shelters in Cox’s Bazar while 33,148 registered refugees from Myanmar have been living in registered camps for about three decades in the bordering districts.
The UN office in Dhaka has offered giving necessary support in the process of identification of Rohingyas against the backdrop of fresh influx, according to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
UN resident coordinator Robert D Watkins made the offer during a farewell call on prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The PM welcomed the offer, saying that the UN should act in such a way as to put pressure on Myanmar for immediate repatriation of their nationals.
Hasina, in the meeting, reiterated her urged to the international community to find out the patrons of the insurgents, financiers and arms suppliers.
Leaders of different Buddhist organisations and Supreme Sangha Council (monastic order) in Chittagong deplored on Wednesday the persecution on Rohingyas in Rakhine state.
In a joint statement, they also urged the Nobel peace winner Aung San Suu Kyi to use her conscience for immediate stopping indiscriminate killing, persecution and grisly attack on Rohingyas, according to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
They said the brutal attack and violence on Rohingyas irrespective of age and gender was nothing but flouting the non-violence and humanism, the principal essence of Buddhism.
Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan and National Awami Party faction, in statements on Wednesday, protested at atrocities in Rakhine State and demanded deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Myanmar.
Indonesian Muslims held protests outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta on Wednesday demanding an end to violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, according to Agence France-Presse.
Thousands of demonstrators, many in white Islamic robes and skullcaps, walked through the capital’s streets to converge outside the embassy in downtown Jakarta.
In a rare letter to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, secretary-general Antonio Guterres expressed concern that the violence in Rakhine could spiral into a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, according to Reuters.
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