20 Rohingya refugees drown fleeing Myanmar

The bodies of 20 Rohingya refugees, including children, were recovered from Naf River on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border after their boat capsized while they were fleeing violence in Myanmar that has forced at least 18,500 Rohingyas to seek refuge across the border.

An official said the boat carrying the Rohingyas was attempting to cross the border into Bangladesh in the Shahparirdwip area when it capsized on Wednesday night. Locals recovered the bodies from the river in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf on Thursday and handed them over to police, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Six bodies were found on Wednesday night and 14 more were recovered from the Bangladesh coast in the morning,” said Chailau Marma, Additional Superintendent of Police in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

Bangladesh security forces also detained 75 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, when they were trying to cross the border into Bangladesh, said.

The cause of the accident is under probe.

“We’re yet to find a survivor to know what exactly happened at the time and how many Rohingya people were on board the boat which it capsized in Naf River dividing Bangladesh and Myanmar,” said a police official.

The boat reportedly anchored near the Shah Porir Island of Bay of Bengal for a couple of days as the Bangladesh forces did not allow them to enter Bangladesh territory.

The International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday that over 18,000 Rohingya people fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state amid a fresh wave of violence in the region since August 25.

According to reports, thousands of Rohingyas from Myanmar, mostly women, children and elderly people, were still waiting in no-man’s land along Bangladesh’s southeastern Naikhyangchhari border to enter Bangladesh territory.

Bangladesh, which shares about 271 km of border with Myanmar, has refused repeated local and foreign appeals to accept Rohingyas fleeing the coordinated rebel attacks on Myanmar border posts in which 100 people, including 80 insurgents and 12 members of the security forces, have been killed.

About the author


IANS, also known as Indo-Asian News Service is a private news agency. IANS covers topics related to politics, entertainment, sports, general and world news etc.