Fire still ravaging Rohingya villages

14 Sep 2017, 13:04 | updated: 14 Sep 2017, 13:10

From Cox’s Bazar
Smoke is seen coming from a village in Myanmar from the Shah Porir Dwip at Teknaf in Cox's Bazar. Photo: Mohammad Ibrahim

It was seen from the Shah Porir Dwip jetty on the shore of Naf River at Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf on Wednesday afternoon that smoke was coming from the villages at Rakhine’s Maungdaw, suggesting houses had been recently set alight.

Refugees streaming into Bangladesh have arrived with horrifying stories of indiscriminate killings and arson attacks at the hands of the military soldiers.

At least 47 bodies believed to be those of Rohingya Muslims washed ashore at Shah Porir Dwip till September 13, highlighting the risks many of the persecuted minority is taking to flee violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

The Rohingyas are now known to have died making the hazardous and death-defying crossing on flimsy boats since a crisis erupted on August 24 in Rakhine State.

Local people claimed that bodies of the men bore stab wounds made by sharp weapons. It has been assumed that they were crossing the river after being tortured by the Myanmar military and local Buddhist terrorists.

Boats arrive each day after crossing the Bay of Bengal of the Naf River. The majority of the victims are children. Some of the bodies had bullet wounds.

Police and border guards said up to six overloaded boats had capsized in the past two weeks, mainly were small boats or rickety fishing vessels not intended to carry passengers.

Some of the Rohingya there said they are too afraid to go back to their homes but not ready to abandon them altogether and become refugees in Bangladesh.

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.