Monday, June 18, 2012

Bangladesh Takes Forced Rohingya Muslim Refugee Ships

TEKNAF, BANGLADESH - Bangladesh border guards on Monday (11/06/20120 pushed back to the eight-ship sea that brought more than 300 Rohingya Muslims, mostly women and children, fled to avoid religious violence in Myanmar, a border guard said.

Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) and coast guard patrol team intercepted eight ships carrying Rohingya Muslims after they tried to enter Bangladesh through the Naf river separating the two countries, BGB major Shafiqur Rahman said.

"There are more than 300 Rohingya Muslims on a boat coming from Myanmar's Akyab (Sittwe) city. They brought mainly Rohingya women and children, many of them crying and looking very worried," he told AFP.
"All of the eight vessels have been pushed back into Myanmar," he added.

Akyab is a former name from Sittwe, the capital of the western state of Rakhine Myanmar where sectarian violence raged last week, killing at least 17 people and prompting authorities to declare an emergency.

An AFP photographer at Teknaf in Bangladesh, located near the border with Myanmar, saw smoke billowing from homes believed to be burned in villages during sectarian violence.

BGB officials handed out water and food to Rohingya Muslims on board before they returned, Rahman told AFP.

Security has been increased along the 200-kilometer border of Bangladesh with Myanmar to stem the entry of Rohingya refugees from across the border.

Bangladeshi officials estimate that a total of 300,000 Rohingyas live in the country, many of them in two official refugee camps south of Cox Bazaar.

Voa-Islam/The Truth Seeker Media

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