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Bangladesh: Boat with Rohingya Muslim refugees capsizes in Bay of Bengal, 14 dead

29th Sep 2017
Bangladesh: Boat with Rohingya Muslim refugees capsizes in Bay of Bengal, 14 dead

By Mutasim Billah

 

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA): Fourteen people including nine children died when a fishing vessel carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar capsized Thursday in the Bay of Bengal near Inani beach of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar city, a local administration official said.

The incident happened at around 4.30 p.m. local time (1030GMT), Mohabbat Khan told Anadolu Agency, adding five women also died when the boat capsized due to bad weather conditions.

Khan said a number of others were rescued and taken to hospitals, while some others were sent to Rohingya camps, without giving an exact number.

UNICEF Bangladesh Representative Edouard Beigbeder regretted the “tragic accident that this evening cost the lives of at least 14 people – including several children – in the waters of the Bay of Bengal”, calling it “a grim reminder of the extraordinary risks that desperate Rohingya are taking in order to escape the violence engulfing their homeland”.

“Dozens of others are believed to have perished making similar journeys since the latest crisis in Rakhine state erupted in late August. All told, over a quarter of a million children from Myanmar have now taken refuge in southern Bangladesh in recent weeks”, a statement said.

Beigbeder added UNICEF “calls for international support to the efforts being led by the Government of Bangladesh to deliver urgent humanitarian aid and ensure the protection of children’s rights”.

Since Aug. 25, around 501,000 Rohingya have crossed from Rakhine state into Bangladesh, according to the UNHCR.

The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

[Photo:  Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing oppression by Myanmar military in Rakhine state, cross the border of Teknaff, Bangladesh on September 28, 2017.  Photographer: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/AA]

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