Myanmar must take back its nationals: Bangladesh’s PM

402 views
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, center, meets with Rohingya Muslims at Kutupalong refugee camp, near the border town of Ukhia, Bangladesh, on Tuesday. AP

UKHIYA, Bangladesh — The Bangladeshi prime minister demanded on Tuesday that Myanmar allow the return of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who fled recent violence in the Buddhist-majority nation — a crisis she said left her speechless.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh would offer the refugees temporary shelter and aid, but that Myanmar should soon “take their nationals back.”

“We will not tolerate injustice,” she said at a rally at the Kutupalong refugee camp, near the border town of Ukhiya in Cox’s Bazar district.

On Monday night, she lambasted Myanmar for “atrocities” that she said had reached a level beyond description, telling lawmakers she had “no words to condemn Myanmar.”

Meanwhile, a Rohingya villager in Myanmar said security forces had arrived Monday in the village of Pa Din village, firing guns, setting new fires to homes and driving hundreds of Rohingya to flee.

“People were scared and running out of the village,” the villager said, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear for his safety.

Myanmar police disputed that, saying the houses were burned by terrorists they called Bengalis. That term is used derisively by many in Myanmar to describe the Rohingya, who they say migrated illegally from neighboring Bangladesh, though many Rohingya families have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Myanmar’s military said that Rohingya villagers helped them arrest six suspected Rohingya insurgents armed with swords and slingshots on Monday. The military commander in chief’s office said Tuesday on its Facebook page that the six alleged insurgents were detained as they entered Ka Nyin Tan village in Maungdaw township.

In Bangladesh, Kutupalong and another pre-existing Rohingya camp were already beyond capacity. Bangladesh has said it would provide 2,000 acres (810 hectares) for a new camp in Cox’s Bazar district to help shelter newly arrived Rohingya. The government was also fingerprinting and registering new arrivals.

Some new arrivals were staying in schools, or huddling in makeshift settlements with no toilets along roadsides and in open fields. Basic resources were scarce, including food, clean water and medical aid.

Aid agencies have been overwhelmed by the influx of Rohingya, many of whom are arriving hungry and traumatized after walking for days through jungles or being packed into rickety wooden boats in search of safety in Bangladesh.


402 views