3,000 Muslims stranded as Bangladesh turns away refugees fleeing Burma unrest

Source: Telegraph

As many as 3,000 Rohingya Muslims were reported to be waiting off the coast of Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh in around 50 boats after fleeing attacks by Buddhists in Burma’s Rakhine state. According to official reports, 84 people have been killed and more than 28,000 displaced in a wave of attacks in which hundreds of homes have been torched.

Several thousand Rohingya – one of the world’s most persecuted minorities – fled to a mountainside to escape the violence while thousands more took to boats heading for the state capital Sittwe and to Bangladesh.

Last night (MON) senior Bangladeshi officials said while they sympathized with the Rohingya’s plight in the current communal violence, they believe many of those heading for its coast are not genuine refugees but migrants being smuggled in by human traffickers.

Of the 800-1000 “Rohingya” who arrived in Bangladesh by boat in June, when just under 100 were killed in the first wave of attacks, 80 per cent were found to be trafficked people and only 20 per cent genuine refugees fleeing violence, said senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs official Saida Muna Tasneem.

No groups of boats had yet arrived from Burma, she said, but Bangladesh is “not looking forward to more illegal people coming from Myanmar (Burma).”

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