Media: The Independent
SHAMSUDDIN ILLIUS from Teknaf
Md Younus, the 30-year-old son of Abdun Nabi of Zammunna of Maungdaw, reached Bangladesh around 1:30am yesterday through the South Kanjarpara border point after walking through the jungles and hills over five days with his two sons, two daughters, wife and parents.
During the journey, they went through the jungles and hills of Kheriprangand Basu para. “We had taken some rice and dry food when we fled our home. After a couple of days, all the food was finished. We fasted for three days, but we were able to drink some water from brooks on the hillsides.”
“After reaching the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, we had to wait for 12 more hours before we managed to get a boat to cross the Naf at a suitable juncture, dodging the Border Guard Police (BGP) of Myanmar and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).” When they arrived in Bangladesh, they were found covered with mud, exhausted, and famished.
On their journey to safety, the Rohingya women, children and elderly persons have been the worst sufferers.
In the meantime, since August 25, the number of newly-arrived Rohingyas has crossed 300,000. During the past 15 days, they have been continuously coming across the border.
Ayesha, 15, crossed the border with her six-month-old daughter in her arms.
Rahima Begum, 30, said: “At that time, there was a heavy downpour. She sank into knee-deep mud.”
Rahima Begum could not recall when she had last eaten something. However, as she said, they reached here after walking for seven days over jungles and hills.
Rahima Begum hails from Darogapara of Maungdaw. She has come with her three sons. She told The Independent, “I left my home three days ago. We fell ill on the way. My sons are suffering from fever. During our journey, we had to hide in the jungles, and passed our time under the open sky when it rained.”
All the people who have fled Myanmar had experiences of an ordeal to describe.
“I have seen military crackdowns several times in our country, but we did not have to flee and leave our land behind. The current of spate violence has broken all records of torture, killing and rape,” said Hasina Begum, 62, who crossed the border on her grandson’s shoulders. “The military picked up my son and killed him. The Rakhine Buddhists looted our property after entering our home, saying they were looking for insurgents. To save our lives, we fled home. We had to walk on foot over five days to reach here,” said Arifa Khatun, 35, who hails from Maungdaw.
Rohingya Muslims have faced widespread discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar. The country’s government says Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and has denied them citizenship since 1982. Rohingyas have alleged that the
Myanmarese military used forced eviction and widespread rape and murder against the Rohingya community.
By May 1978, approximately 200,000 Rohingya refugees had entered Bangladesh and scattered unregistered refugee camps had sprouted near the border. Between 1991 and 1992, more incidents of rape, forced labour and religious persecution caused another 250,000 Rohingyas to flee, while in 2012, some 30,000 entered Bangladesh. In 2016, over 87,000 entered the country, and following the recent violence, over 300,000 have entered, and the influx is still on. All have narrated experiences of rape and torture.