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.”