Border Guard Bangladesh officials say they have pushed back 86 Rohingya Muslims including women and children who fled Myanmar in the face of violent clashes between the security forces and the Islamist militants.
“The detained Rohingyas were given humanitarian assistance and sent back around 2:30pm,” Teknaf 2 BGB Battalion deputy commander Maj Abu Russell Siddique said on Tuesday.
They entered the Bangladesh territory for treatment, the official claimed.
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BGB members detained the 86 people, all hailing from Khoiarchar village in Sittwe, the capital of Muslim-dominated Rakhine state, and also seized two boats after they entered Bangladesh through No 5 Sluice Gate and Wabrang area of Sabrang Union crossing the Naf River.
The arrestees include 40 women and 25 children.
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In this photograph taken on September 7, 2016, an armed police is posted on a road during a visit of former UN secretary general Kofi Annan Muslim Rohingya at the Aung Mingalar displacement camp for the minority Muslim Rohingya in Sittwe after the Rakhine State has been effectively split on religious grounds between Buddhists and Muslims since bouts of communal violence tore through the state in 2012, killing scores and forcing tens of thousands to flee AFP
The Myanmar government has admitted that its helicopter gunships had opened fire on the Rohingya villages killing at least 30. Media reports suggest that around 70 people have died in the crackdown since last month.
Meanwhile, AFP on Tuesday reported quoting Rohingya community leaders that the BGB had pushed back around 200 Rohingyas on Monday.
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Activists say the actual toll could be much higher, accusing troops of killing civilians, raping women and torching homes – allegations the army denies, AFP reports. Authorities have heavily restricted access to the area, making it difficult to independently verify government reports or accusations of army abuse.
The latest violence has taken place at a time when an international commission, formed in August and led by former UN chief Kofi Annan, is working to advise the government on the Rohingya issue.
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Tension has been rife in Myanmar's border areas with Bangladesh since last month when several hundred militants linked to Aqa Mul Mujahidin group launched attacks on the border police and the army, resulting in the deaths of a dozen law enforcers. The Myanmar Army has since been conducting operations to arrest the attackers.
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In this photograph taken on September 7, 2016, former UN secretary general Kofi Annan (2 front left) accompanied by officials of a multi-sector advisory commission of the Rakhine State meets with minority Muslim Rohingya elders at Thet Kal Pyin displacement camp to find a lasting solution to Myanmar's stateless Rohingya Muslims AFP
The Rohingyas are considered by many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and most do not have citizenship. They are prevented from moving freely and have their access to basic services restricted.
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More than 100 people were killed in violence in Rakhine in 2012 and some 125,000 Rohingya Muslims took refuge in squalid “internally displaced persons” (IDP) camps where their movements are severely restricted. Thousands have fled persecution and poverty by boat or entered Bangladesh through the border.
The UNHCR operates in two refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar to provide protection and assistance to some 33,000 refugees and advocates with the government for the protection of some 300,000 to 500,000 unregistered Myanmar nationals who do not enjoy the same benefits as refugees.
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Radical Islamists and militant outfits of Bangladesh have joined hands with the Rohingya groups including Rohingya Solidarity Organisation (RSO) to demand due rights of the minority group. Militant groups al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) and the Islamic State have also threatened to avenge the persecution of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
The Bangladesh government has taken different steps to stop the influx of Rohingyas saying it is a major threat to the country’s security as the Rohingyas are easy prey to terrorism. But it did not succeed due to a porous border, and shortage of manpower and other logistics, according to the Foreign Ministry sources.