Entering Bangladesh has become a tricky task for the Rohingya, particularly when vigilance is so high at the border.
Once detained by the members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), the Rohingya are forced to go to no man’s land and await a push back.
But they do not lose hope for a second chance to cross over, and manage to make their way back onto Bangladeshi territory after just two-to-four days of detention in no man’s land.
Sources at the border area said most of the Rohingya are managing to escape the detention and cross all the way to the refugee camps inside Bangladesh in the dead of the night.
Even the Rohingya who have been pushed back give it a second try from another entry point at the border, they added.
Gura Mian, 70, is one such Rohingya who entered Bangladesh through Tombroo border in Naikhongchhari, Bandarban last Sunday.
“I made my way into Kutupalong camp after a two-day stay at the no man’s land in Jalpaitali,” he told the Dhaka Tribune. “Eighteen others from two families were with me. We reached Kutupalong on Sunday night without facing any obstacle.”
Meherunnesa, 55, Mohammad Alam, 28, Jane Alam, 35, and Ayesha Begum, 25, have also arrived at Balukhali Rohingya camp in Ukhiya after spending some days in no man’s land.
There are several hundred more like them pouring in each night. They congregate everywhere around the refugee camps – at schools, on roads, at stores and markets – as the shelters inside the camps are already packed to capacity.
Cox’s Bazar Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Khaled Mahmud denied that the Rohingya have been able to cross into Bangladesh from the no man’s land.
“The Rohingya staying at the no man’s land are not allowed to enter our territory. They remain there and the BGB has not left any scope for them to enter,” he said.
“At present, some 20,000-22,000 Rohingya men, women and children are staying at the no man’s land.”
The ADC expressed doubt over the UN’s claim that 123,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh amid the recent escalation of violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
“According to the reports of BGB, Coast Guard, police and different intelligence agencies at the border, 78,000 Rohingyas have crossed over so far,” he said.