Sons carry old father 60km to cross Bangladesh border

13 Sep 2017, 12:08 | updated: 13 Sep 2017, 12:11

From Cox’s Bazar

It is a heart-warming instance of the unfathomable bond between father and sons as two dislocated Rohingya men carried their 82-year old father on their shoulders and walked around 60kilometer across the Myanmar border to Anjuman Para border village of Palongkhali in Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya.

45-year-old Nuruzzaman, and his younger brother, 36-year-old Mohammad Amin, their wives and seven children, and their father Sonali Rahman fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State amidst the ongoing military operations on the Muslim minority. They have reached at the border point village road of Anjuman Para on 11 September morning after walking five days.

Like any other Bangladesh-Myanmar border points, Rohingya families are fleeing violence in their own country Myanmar and entering neighbouring Bangladesh through the Anjuman Para, a hamlet of Palongkhali in Ukhia.

While talking to the NTV Online journalist soon after landing there, Mohammad Amin said that they had fled the troubled state with their father and family members in fear for their lives, as many of their relatives had already been killed by the Myanmar army and local Buddhists.

‘We were farmers at Tong Bazar of Buthidong in the state. I and my wife have three children; my elder brother and his wife have four children. My father is very aged and ill. We love our father and don’t want to lose him before his natural death. The fear of torture, atrocities, fire and sounds of gunshots made our lives harder at the village where we born. Adult men and women are moving towards Bangladesh border points by themselves. But old and ailing men and women, like my father, cannot walk and we had no choice but to escape the dead land carrying our loving and respected father on our shoulders,’ vividly narrated Amin.

He said they required five days to land in Bangladesh by walking after hiding in a jungle in Myanmar for 10 days since they had to overcome hilly and rocky areas to eschew detection of the military forces.

‘My father’s physical condition deteriorated for the long toiling journey without food and water.’

‘But we feel safe here escaping our deaths. We know that we will be killed by the army men if we go back to Rakhine,’ said the father of three children, who are also in vulnerable situation now.

The violent Myanmar military atrocity on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State sent many Rohingya refugees across the border in Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf and Ukhiya, where they are now facing hunger and illness in overcrowded makeshift camps.

The journalist talked to at least nine newly arrived Rohingya families who entered small Anjuman Para border village of Palongkhali on Monday. They said the Myanmar military responded with indiscriminate killings, burning entire villages and forcing tens of thousands to flee.

An estimated 370,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence and death in neighbouring Myanmar since 25 August. At least 457,000 hungry and traumatized refugees have sought refuge in Bangladesh’s border areas Ukhia and Teknaf since October 2016. They have joined many thousands of refugees from previous violent episodes in Myanmar.