About 1,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh after violent clashes

August 28, 2017 10:30 pm

A Bangladeshi border guard talks to a boy from Kutupalong refugee camp who brought food for his relatives stranded in the Myanmar- border area near Ukhiya on August 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

About 1,000 persecuted Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state have fleed to neighboring Bangladesh after coming under fire from military soldiers.
Jahangir Aziz, a Bangladeshi local government representative, said that when Myanmar troops fired their guns, the crowd ran back and broke through a Bangladesh barricade and cordon of 300-400 guards.
They then scattered, with at least some making it to unofficial camps for unregistered refugees, the official added.
The Muslims, who were seeking refuge from the ongoing violence in Myanmar, had been in a border no man’s land for two days.
Bangladeshi border guards, who had earlier provided them with food and water, sought to push them back to Myanmar.
Rohingya leaders say 8,000 to 9,000 Rohingya have entered Bangladesh since a fresh wave of violence broke out in Rakhine last Thursday.
At least 104 people have been killed in the fresh bout of violence involving Myanmar’s military and the armed group. The official death toll as of Sunday was 96.  
Renewed violence erupted on August 25 after dozens of police and border outposts in Rakhine allegedly came under attack by a group claiming to be advocating the Muslim Rohingyas against the government crackdown in Rakhine. A total of 89 people, including 12 security personnel, were killed during the violence.
Video clips circulating on social media showed that there was widespread burning of buildings and even whole neighborhoods in Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine on Sunday.
Arakan Times, an online website serving the Rohingya community, said Myanmar border guard police and soldiers burned down 1,000 homes in actions beginning Saturday and continuing Monday.
A group of journalists who tried to drive to Maungdaw on Monday were turned back by police and soldiers.

A Rohingya girl eats rice next to other refugees in the Myanmar-Bangladesh border area near Ukhiya on August 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Myanmar’s government brands the 1.1 million-strong Rohingya population in the country as “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. Rohingya Muslims, however, have had roots in the country that go back centuries. They are considered by the UN the “most persecuted minority group in the world.”
The government used a militant attack on border guards back in October 2016 as a pretext to enforce the blockade on Rakhine.
There have been numerous eyewitness accounts of summary executions, rapes, and arson attacks by the military since the crackdown began.
Some 87,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since last year amid the crackdown.
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