Bangladesh Seeks to Slow New Influx of Rohingya Refugees

Jesmin Papri
2017.09.01
Dhaka
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Smoke from fires in Myanmar's Rakhine state is seen across the Naf River in Teknaf, in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, Aug. 31, 2017. (Pramathesh Shil/BenarNews)

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Rohingya wait in the rain after Bangladeshi border police stopped them at Kanchanpara in Teknaf, Aug. 31, 2017. (Pramathesh Shil/BenarNews)

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Rohingya refugees construct makeshift shelters along the Bangladeshi side of the border with Myanmar, Aug. 31, 2017. (Abdur Rahman/BenarNews)

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Rohingya refugees reach out for food at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, near Myanmar border, Aug. 30, 2017. (AFP)

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Rohingya wait to enter Bangladesh at a no-man’s land near Bandarban district, Aug. 29, 2017. (Pramathesh Shil/BenarNews)

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Border Guard Bangladesh members stay on alert to prevent Rohingya refugees from entering the country, Aug. 30, 2017. (Abdur Rahman/BenarNews)

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Rohingya families carry their belongings as they seek refuge in Bangladesh, Sept. 1, 2017. (Abdur Rahma/BenarNews)

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People stand near bodies of Rohingya who died when their boat sank on the Naf River, Aug. 31, 2017. (Abdur Rahman/BenarNews)

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Rohingya refugees sit near the Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Aug. 30, 2017. (AFP)

As thousands of Rohingya flee a fresh cycle of violence in neighboring Myanmar, Bangladesh authorities have stepped up security patrols to keep the refugees from crossing the border.

Around 400 people have been killed since violence broke out in Rakhine on Aug. 24, according to official information from Myanmar’s military, while about 38,000 refugees have fled to Cox’s Bazar district in southeastern Bangladesh, a United Nations official there told BenarNews. According to U.N. sources another 20,000 refugees are massing along the border, seeking to cross over to Bangladesh.

The journey is not without peril. More than three dozen refugees, including 18 whose bodies were recovered Friday, drowned when their boats capsized while trying to cross the Naf River that forms a natural boundary between the two countries.

“We have been trying our best to stop the infiltration …,” said Lt. Col. S.M. Ariful Islam, the commander of the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Teknaf, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar.

“Since Friday at dawn, 4,000 Rohingyas were detained and later sent back to Myanmar.”

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