Rohingyas entering Bangladesh
110 detainedStaff Correspondent
Security forces detained 110 Rohingyas at Teknaf on Wednesday as the Myanmar citizens fleeing sectarian violence in Rakhine province continued crossing the border into Bangladesh amid international calls to open up the border to refugees.
Border Guard Bangladesh and Bangladesh Coast Guard detained at least 110 Rohingyas, including women and children, after they entered Teknaf on Wednesday, according to officials.
Foreign minister Dipu Moni on Wednesday again said that Bangladesh would not allow Rohingya refugees to enter Bangladesh.
She expressed the resolve just hours after the New York-based human rights organisation, Human Rights Watch, urged Bangladesh to open up its border to Myanmar refugees who were fleeing ethnic violence in Rakhine state.
In reply to journalists’ questions after a programme in the CIRDAP, Dipu Moni said that the authorities responsible would remain alert on the border with Myanmar.
She hoped that the violence would remain confined to Myanmar and there would be no trans-boundary spill-over.
‘By closing its border when violence in Arakan State is out of control, Bangladesh is putting lives at grave risk,’ Bill Frelick, Refugee Programme director at Human Rights Watch, was quoted as saying in a press lease of the HRW that was posted on its web site on Wednesday.
On Tuesday the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees issued a similar call, urging the government to accept Rohingyas and provide them with shelter.
After the UNHCR’s call, Dipu Moni said that Bangladesh would not allow Rohingya refugees to enter Bangladesh.
New Age correspondent in Cox’s Bazaar quoted officials as saying that BGB and Coast Guard on Wednesday detained at least 110 Myanmar citizens, including women and children, when they crossed the border into Teknaf.
A one-and-a-half-month-old baby was also with the Rohingyas who fled ethnic violence in Myanmar.
Major Shafiqur Rahman, deputy commanding officer of 42 BGB in Teknaf, confirmed that they had detained at least 110 Myanmar citizens who had entered Bangladesh.
‘A total of 110 Myanmar citizens were detained at different points of Tekhnaf,’ he said.
BGB and Coast Guard officials said Myanmar citizens were detained in the morning as they were trying to get down from a trawler on Shah Porir Dwip and Char Badar Mukab on St Martin’s Island.
Rohingyas are fleeing riots in Akyab, the capital of Myanmar’s western Rakhine state where sectarian violence flared up last week, leaving at least 17 people dead and prompting the authorities to declare a state of emergency in the city.
On Tuesday, 500 Rohingyas seeking refuge in Bangladesh were turned back.
The Rohingyas who were detained said that the situation in Rakhine state was still tense.
Major Shafiqur said that the detained Myanmar citizens would be pushed back to Myanmar, but not the one-and-a-half-month-old baby.
Rohingyas are an ethnic, linguistic and religious (Muslim) minority in Myanmar, of whom a large number fled persecution decades ago.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are some 2,00,000 Rohingyas in Bangladesh, of whom only 28,000 are documented and living in two government camps, assisted by the agency. Close to 11,000 live at Kutupalong camp, with another 17,000 farther south at Nayapara, both within 2km of Myanmar.
Security has been beefed up along Bangladesh’s 172km border with Myanmar to prevent further influx of refugees.
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