Desperate for illegal entry, Rohingyas wait at border

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Publication Date: 28 August 2017
Media: The Independent

Desperate for illegal entry, Rohingyas wait at border

At least 5,000 have entered Bangladesh in 3 days as violence raged on in Rakhine
Shamsuddin Illius from Ghumdhum, Bandarban
Desperate for illegal entry, Rohingyas wait at border

Rohingyas, including women and children, set up a makeshift camp at Kutupalong in Ukhia of Cox’s Bazar after illegally crossing into Bangladesh following crackdown by Myamnar government forces in Rakhine State. Inset, a Rohingya man carries his old-age mother as he attempts to cross into Bangladesh fleeing persecution in their homeland. Independent Photo

In a fresh influx, hundreds of Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh through the border points at Ukhiya, Teknaf and Naikhongchhari, following fresh clashes in neighbouring Myanmar. A visit to the different Bangladesh-Myanmar border points yesterday revealed that the hapless refugees, mostly women, children and elderly, were forced to wait under the open sky in their bid to seek sanctuary.

It was found that around 800 Rohingyas were waiting at Kolabagan in Dhumdhum, while the number of refugees at Konar Para in Naikhonchhari was over 1,500. There were around 500 Rohingyas waiting at Rahmaterbeel and an equal number at Anjuman Para, while over 600 newly-entered Rohingyas were waiting at Dhamon Para in Ukhiya.

Sources at the unregistered refugee camps at Kutupalong, Leda and Balukhai said at least 5,000 Rohingyas have entered Bangladesh, and the influx was continuing as violence raged on in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

The refugees were entering the country by crossing the Naf river through different border points at Lambabeel, Kharaingaghona, and Ulubunia in Teknaf upazila, and Anjuman Para and Thaingkhali Rahmaterbeel in Ukhia upazila.

Meanwhile, 36 bullet-hit Rohingyas have been admitted to different

hospitals in Chittagong and Ukhiya upazila of Cox’s Bazar.

Of them, six Rohingyas, including two children, were admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital and 30 to MSF (Medicine Sans Frontier) Hospital and SSF Hospital in Ukhia.

The new influx was triggered by fresh attacks on 25 Myanmar police outposts and an army by Rohingya rebels on Friday. As many as 80 Rohingya rebels and 12 Myanmarese security personnel were killed in the violence.

Talking to The Independent, the refugees narrated their tales of woes that forced them to flee their homes.

Md. Mobarok, 18, who hails from Forkira Para, said Myanmarese security forces had killed his father, Abdul Karim, and his elder brother after setting their house on fire. “I along with my mother, younger sisters and brother came to Bangladesh through Golpaitoli border point at Ghumdhum of Bandarbar,” he said.

Rashida Begum, 60, who also hails from Forkira Para, shared a similar experience. “The Myanmar army has picked up all the male members of our family and torched our houses. I somehow managed to flee to Bangladesh by crossing the border at Golpaitoli. But my husband is yet to cross the border,” Rashida wept.

Nasima Khatun,76, fled her home at Debinna in Maungdaw with 15 members of her family, including six children and six women, on Saturday night after security forces looted her home and set it on fire. “One of my grandsons was killed and two were picked up by the security forces,” she said. Nasima entered Bangladesh trough the Kolabagan border point.

Meanwhile, Bangladeshi security officials said they were keeping a strict vigil on the situation.

“The possibility of Rohingyas sneaking into the country is open. However, we are not allowing anyone to enter our border. If anyone has managed to enter, we are sending them back,” said Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) director-general Maj. Gen. Abu Hossain. “We have increased our surveillance to stop the intrusions,” the DG said after visiting the different border points.

“Many Rohingyas have returned to their country in the meantime. We have increased our forces four times to stop the intrusions. Most of the Rohingyas who tried to enter the country were sent back on Saturday,” said Cox’s Bazar BGB-34 battalion commander Lt. Col. Manjurul Ahsan Khan.###



Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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