280 Rohingya boat-people sent to Bhasan Char island in Bangladesh

Shahidul Islam Chowdhury | Updated at 07:17pm on May 08, 2020

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Residential facilities built at Bhasan Char. -- New Age file photo

The government on Thursday sent two 280 Rohingya ethnic minority people of Myanmar, who were pushed back by Malaysian authorities by a boat, to Bhasan Char in Noakhali.

A Bangladesh Navy ship toed the boat which was scheduled to reach Bhasan Char early Friday.

‘The boat would reach Bhasan Char with 280 people on Friday morning,’ disaster management and relief secretary Md Shah Kamal told New Age on Thursday evening.

These 280 people are part of about 500 people, who have been waiting on two boats at sea for about three weeks for landing in Bangladesh territory, Bangladesh officials said.

Bangladesh Navy intercepted the boat after it entered the Bangladesh territorial waters with 280 passengers on Thursday and toed it to the island, they said.

It was the second batch of Rohingya people who were sent to Bhasan Char as the government earlier sent 29 people of the same group to the island. They were captured after landing on another Bangladesh island as a part of an attempt to go abroad in connivance with traffickers after families paid for the venture.

The government would send about 400 newly arrived Rohingya people, who reached Bangladesh on April 15 by a boat to Bhasan Char in Noakhali to avoid overcrowding in the already congested camps in Cox’s Bazar, Shah Kamal told New Age on Tuesday.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen earlier said that all future arrivals will be transferred to Bhasan Char. 

Residential and other facilities were built in Bhasan Char at the cost of Tk 2,500 crore to relocate over 1,00,000 forcibly displaced Rohingya people of Myanmar to ease overcrowding at camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban.

The latest Rohingya influx that began on August 25, 2017 amid unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies.