19 Dead As Rohingya Boat Sinks Off Bangladesh Coast

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Around 25 people had been rescued and 7 to 9 people were still missing. — File photo

Incident took place when Rohingyas were fleeing ongoing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state

ANKARA (AA) — At least 19 people have been killed after a boat carrying Rohingya people capsized off Bangladesh’s southeastern coast in the wee hours of Thursday, according to local media.

The incident took place when refugees were trying to reach Cox’s Bazar district in southeast Bangladesh to escape ongoing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, a Dhaka-based newspaper the Daily Star reported.

Citing Main Uddin Khan, in-charge of Tekhanf police station, the daily reported that bodies of 10 children and nine women were discovered, but their identities are yet to be ascertained.

It was unclear how many people were on board but a local source told Anadolu Agency that around 25 people had been rescued and 7 to 9 people were still missing.

“Some other boats carrying hundreds of Rohingyas arrived in Bangladesh coast on Wednesday night,” said the source.

Violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on August 25 when the country’s security forces launched an operation against Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh though the country sealed off its border for the refugees.

Over 10,000 of Rohingya, mostly women, children and elderly people, were waiting in no man’s land along Myanmar border to enter Bangladesh territory, Bangladeshi media reported citing official from the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

Meanwhile, more than 10,000 Rohingyas have already managed to get into Bangladesh through several points of the 274 kilometers (170 miles) Bangladesh-Myanmar border, according to the Daily Star.

Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state broke out on Friday. Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force and displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers, destroying homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings — including that of babies and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

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