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Refugee crisis deepens

10,000 more Rohingyas ready to sneak in

By Special Correspondent
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More than 10,000 Rohingya people are reportedly gathering at the porous borders between Bangladesh and Myanmar after fleeing violence in Rakhine State of Myanmar.
Bangladesh shares a 271-kilometer border with Myanmar out of which a stretch of at least 150 kilometer is porous due to the hilly and densely forested terrain.
 "Thousands of Rohingya have landed in the main front-line of borders along with Myanmar. They are trying to sneak across the frontier seeking safety and shelter despite Bangladesh Border Guards' sincere effort to prevent the influx," reports our correspondent stationed in Cox's Bazar quoting locals. The Rohingyas are now hiding in deep forest lands at Mongdu and maintaining contact with their relatives now staying in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, according to locals.
 "The Rohingya refugees fleeing torture and rape in Myanmar are trying to enter into Bangladesh via the Naf River by trawlers through the Jimongkhali border," a refugee leader at Kutupalong told The New Nation requesting not to be named.   
 "They would trespass anytime evading vigilance of border security forces", he added.
According to him, more than 5000 Rohingyas have already reached refugee camp at Kutupalong to escape from violence in Rakhine.
Rakhine State is in close proximity to the border shared with Bangladesh and the home to Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims.
Members of the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) and Coast Guard have stepped up border patrols and vigilance and sent many Rohingya back.
Many of distressed Myanmar citizens including women, children and elderly people continue to cross the border into Bangladesh despite their sincere effort to prevent the illegal cross over.  "We will not accept more new arrivals. Border restrictions are in place considering national security as well as avert the burden of the refuges," Home Minister Asaduzzaman Kamal told The New Nation yesterday.
He said, the government in particular has taken a hard line over the illegal migration asking the Myanmar authorities to "ensure the integrity of its border" and to stop the influx of people from Rakhine State.
Bangladesh authorities earlier refused to ease the border restrictions despite call from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
It stated that Bangladesh should open its border for refugees fleeing the western Rakhine state in Myanmar in wake of army crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims that called ethnic cleansing.
More than hundred Rohingya people have since died and thousands have been displaced. Many of those affected are innocent women and children.
Some refugees who entered into Bangladesh told media that they suffered rape, torture and saw their homes burned down and family members executed.
 "If (the military) finds any boys aged above 10 years old, they kill them. Men are also being picked up by the military," said Lalu Begum.
"When the military came, we fled from our home. I don't know if my husband is dead or alive."
Begum, currently staying at the Kutupalong camp in Southern Bangladesh, told CNN several women in her village were raped by regime soldiers.
"When they see pretty ladies, they ask for water, then they get inside the house and rape them," she said.

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