Rohingya rafts keep coming


Over 1,500 Rohingya floated into Bangladesh in a single day yesterday as the persecuted minorities continue to flee violence in Myanmar.

Abdul Gaffar Chowdhury, chairman of Palongkhali Union Parishad, said many of them arrived in Cox’s Bazar on rafts made with jerrycans.

Md Atiqur Rahman, an official of Border Guard Bangladesh, said such rafts were being seen in increasing numbers in recent days and some Rohingyas were arriving on small engine boats.

The groups that arrived yesterday crossed the Naf river to reach Anjumanpara in Ukhiya and Maheshkhali, reports our correspondent. Police rescued them and sent them to Balukhali shelter.

On Thursday, 132 and on Friday afternoon 529 Rohingyas reached Shah Porir Dwip in Teknaf on rafts, according to police.

Police said so far 28 boats or trawlers have gone down at sea or in the Naf river causing 200 deaths of mostly women and children.

Mobile courts have so far meted out punishment to 452 Bangladeshis, including boat owners and middlemen or brokers, for illegally boarding Rohingyas on boats and trawlers.

Rohingyas who have managed to secure shelter at different camps in Cox’s Bazar, are now encouraging their relatives in the Rakhine State to come to Bangladesh for a “safe and better life”.

Md Moinuddin, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, told The Daily Star over telephone, “We have come across some Rohingyas who recently came to Cox’s Bazar after being convinced by relatives, who reached here before. Rohingyas already living in government-sponsored shelters and getting food and other humanitarian assistance from local and international agencies are informing their relatives about the conditions in the camps.”

He said Rohingyas have been communicating with their relatives via mobile phone and assuring them of their safe stay in temporary government shelters.

The police official however could not be sure how many had arrived following such communication.

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