Rohingya Muslims drown while escaping fighting in Myanmar

 

The bodies of at least 17 Muslim women and children were found on Thursday (August 31) in Teknaf, Bangladesh, as tens of thousands tried to flee the fighting in northern Myanmar.

The victims were believed to have drown after their boat capsized while crossing the border through the Bay of Bengal.

Around 38,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar, United Nations sources said, a week after Rohingya insurgents attacked police posts and an army base in Rakhine state, prompting clashes and a military counteroffensive.

The army said it was conducting clearance operations against “extremist terrorists” and security forces had been told to protect civilians. But Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh said it was a campaign of arson and killings aimed to force them out.

On Friday (September 1), Bangladesh border guards found the bodies of another 15 Rohingya Muslims, area commander Lt. Col. Ariful Islam told Reuters. About 20,000 more Rohingya trying to flee are stuck in no man’s land at the border, the U.N. sources said, as aid workers in Bangladesh struggle to alleviate the sufferings of a sudden influx of thousands of hungry and traumatized people.