Media: The Independent
SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS from Teknaf
The baby was screaming, and an elderly woman was desperately trying to calm it down, but she could not hush its crying. Sixty-five-year-old Fatema Khatun was standing next to the road leading to the registered refugee camp at Kutupalong with an ailing toddler in her arms. As far as she could see down the dusty road, a future full of uncertainty was awaiting her.
Khatun fled Merullah of Maungdaw five days ago along with eight members of her family. Khatun had lost her husband long ago.
In the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the military killed her 21-year-old son Karim Ullah. Her sister-in-law, Sakina Begum, and Karimullah’s wife—her daughter-in-law—were burnt alive when the Myanmarese security forces torched their home at Merullah in Maungdaw. The couple is survived by their five-month-old son, Md Saker. When Khatun fled Myanmar, she brought Saker with her. But she is now in dire straits as she cannot get food for the baby. The baby has fallen sick as it has not been fed properly.
“The military picked up my son. We have heard the military killed my son, but we could not get his body. When the military set my home on fire, Sakina could not come out of it, though we managed to come out from the house and fled,” said Khatun.
“Along with our home, Sakina became a pile of ashes. We entered Bangladesh through the Bulkhai border point. We’re starving here. We have neither food nor money,” rued Khatun.
Hamida Begum and Kharecha Begum, two other refugees, said: “Once we had home, properties, paddy land, cow, goats, buffalos, everything. But now we’re on the streets. The military destroyed everything.”
“The military entered our home, saying they were looking for insurgents. They picked up my brother, the only male member of our family. Though it was said he was murdered, we don’t know what actually happened. We don’t know whether we can ever return home or not,” said Hamida, tears streaming down her eyes.###