DHAKA: Bangladesh coast guards prevented 125 Rohingya Muslims from entering its territory as the group attempted to escape violent unrest in neighbouring Myanmar.
Authorities patrolling the Naf River, which separates Bangladesh’s southeastern border from western Myanmar, pushed back a group of Rohingya trying to enter the country late Friday, local Coast Guard official Nafiur Rahman told AFP.
“There were 125 Myanmar nationals in seven wooden boats. They included 61 women and 36 children. We resisted them from entering our water territory,” Rahman told AFP.
He added that all of the passengers were Rohingya who tried to enter Bangladesh amid an uptick of violent clashes in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Another coast guard officer said he saw two bodies floating in the Naf River during a patrol.
Up to 30,000 people have been displaced by violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, half of which occurred during the last week when dozens of people died in clashes with the military, the UN said Friday.
Troops have poured into a strip of land along the Bangladesh border, an area which is largely home to the stateless Muslim Rohingya minority, since coordinated attacks on police posts last month.
The resurgence of violence in Rakhine has deepened a crisis that has already threatened to derail the new administration led by Myanmar’s democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi.
Rakhine has sizzled with religious tension ever since waves of violence between the majority Buddhist population and the Muslim Rohingya left more than 100 dead in 2012.