About 270,000 Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar have sought refuge in Bangladesh in the past two weeks, a spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said on Friday.
On August 25, Rohingya militants killed 12 security officers in co-ordinated attacks on border posts, according to Myanmar’s state media.
India has urged Myanmar to handle the situation in its Rakhine state with restraint following the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees into neighboring Bangladesh.
Most Rohingya refugees are fleeing into Bangladesh, which suffers from flooding and scarce resources, it said.
The new figure confirmed by U.N. Refugee Agency spokeswoman Vivian Tan is much higher than the 164,000 the agency had previously estimated had arrived since August 25.
Refugee camps had already been filled to capacity before the influx. Women and children are rubbing their bellies and begging for food. “It is imperative that violence is ended and normalcy in the state restored expeditiously”, the statement said.
On Thursday, Hasina denounced insurgent activities in Rakhine state which the Myanmar government has blamed for causing the recent violence, though she also criticized the actions of the country’s army.
Murphy called for implementation of recommendations of a commission led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan set up to find solutions for the ethnically and religiously divided Rakhine.
Thailand and other countries could be impacted from the destabilisation and conflict in the Rakhine state that borders Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal.
“Rohingya refugees have harrowing accounts of fleeing Burmese army attacks and watching their villages be destroyed”, Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW, said. “All of my sons burned into ash”, he told BenarNews.
“If we were at the house, we would die like Abu Syed, Abdul Khaleque, Abul Boshor and Abdur Razzaq”, he said, referring to his sons.
Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.
The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and persecution in Myanmar and are denied citizenship despite centuries-olds roots in the Rakhine region.
Late Saturday evening, India called for cessation of violence in Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state.
“We call upon Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State”. The government has put the blame on this carnage on the ARSA a terrorist group of Rohingya refugees believed to be trained in Pakistan and funded by Wahabbi sources in Saudi Arabia.
The State Department is working with worldwide partners, including the Office of the United Nations’ refugee agency, the global Committee of the Red Cross and the worldwide Organization for Migration, to provide emergency assistance for the displaced, the statement said.
A Myanmar military source said landmines were laid along the border in the 1990s to prevent trespassing and the military had since tried to remove them, but none had been planted recently.