Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Burmese Refugees: Increasing numbers of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh

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Rohingya inflow to Bangladesh has been increasing recently, as more and more Rohingya people flee to Bangladesh to avoid discrimination by Burmese authorities, according to our correspondent.

They are now in the nearby Kutupalong unofficial camp and Leda Tal, the unofficial refugee camp under Teknaf Union of Cox’s Bazaar district. They do not get any support from any quarter. The situation of these people is very grave.

According to the local people of border areas, about 1,000 Rohingya people, including women and children have crossed the Bangladesh border, in the last three days.

The Rohingya had to flee their homes on account of persecution by the ruling military junta. A Rohingya man named Sayed Alam, who hailed from Balu Khali village of Maungdaw Township, with his five family members entered Bangladesh, recently with a small raw boat after crossing the Naff River.

He said, “We are forcibly barred from our home and asked not to come back, if we return, we would be punished severely. Over 120 families have been expelled from our village recently. So, we have no alternative but to cross into the Burma-Bangladesh border.”

Some Bangladeshi people believe that Rohingyas are persecuted by concerned Burmese authorities, as they support the National League for Democracy party, led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a service man from Cox’s Bazaar said.

Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) Battalion No. 17, Major Tamin Hossain, said,” The Rohingya inflow to Bangladesh has not stopped yet, though about 300 Rohingyas were pushed back to Burma three days ago.”

Bangladesh shares a 320 km border with Burma, including a water boundary of the Naff River. There is tight security on both sides of the border areas, to check illegal migrants entering both countries.

The Natala villagers along with Nasaka and army have been harassing the Rohingya villagers of Balu Khali village in various ways, since the clash in April this year. The army authorities deliberately created problems between Rohingya villagers and the army to pressurize the Balu Khali villagers to leave the country, a fleeing refugee named Kalam said.

The authorities concerned have been looting vegetables from Rohingya villagers, forcibly taking fish from the fishing projects and looting fish from fishermen and stealing cattle, fowl from Rohingya villages. The villagers are finding it extremely difficult to endure the attitude of the army personnel, he added.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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