Rohingya inflow into Bangladesh continues

Violet Powell
October 19, 2017

Since 25 August, an estimated 582,000 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in Bangladesh.

A United Nations team took witness statements from Rohingya refugees last month, and another human rights mission is now on the ground, gathering evidence from some of the 582,000 Rohingya who have fled into Bangladesh in the last two months.

Many of the Rohingyas who arrived since Sunday told the UNHCR they were forced to leave when their villages were set on fire.

Map of villages destroyed in Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung Townships.

Myanmar's media has reported that the "clearance operations" were to uncover "terrorist training" camps in the Mayu mountains in Rakhine state. Some refugees said their non-Rohingya neighbours had been given weapons and uniforms and worked in concert with the security forces.

Speaking in Geneva, U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesman Andrej Mahecic said the latest arrivals, numbering 10,000 to 15,000 people were stranded near Anjuman Para village in Ukhia.

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An overcrowded boat carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar capsized Monday in the Bay of Bengal near a Bangladeshi fishing village, killing 12 people, including six children, police said.

"As of this morning they are still squatting in the paddy fields of Anjuman Para village in Bangladesh", he said.

Faced with wide worldwide condemnation over the exodus of half a million Rohingya people, mostly to neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar's military finally succumbed to growing pressure and ordered an internal probe into the conduct of its military vis-à-vis this minority Muslim group. He said a couple of USA diplomats have been able to visit.

Their stories have shocked the world globe, with accounts of Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist mobs murdering and raping civilians before torching their villages to the ground.

Bangladesh and humanitarian agencies have been struggling to accommodate and provide basic services for the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who fled northern Rakhine during a military crackdown following deadly attacks on 30 police posts and an army facility on August 25. The brutal attacks against Rohingya that followed have been described by the "textbook ethnic cleansing". They have blamed ARSA insurgents for the violence. "All of them need the lifesaving basics - shelter, food, water, vaccinations, protection - not tomorrow or next week or next month, but right now", she said.

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