22 Rohingyas flee persecution across border13 December 2016 bdnews24.com
A group of 22 Rohingyas fleeing persecution in Myanmar has crossed the Bangladesh border and now seek refuge in Chittagong.
A crowd of curious locals gathered around the group, which included five children, as they waited in an open area next to the city's Andarkilla Jame Mosque on Sunday evening.
Some policemen were also seen in the area. The group said they had fled from the Maungdaw area in Myanmar's Rakhine state, crossed the border at Kutupalang in Cox's Bazar's Teknaf district, and had arrived in Chittagong that very day. Fifty-year-old Nasima Khatun said she had been a resident of Hatiparha village in the Maungdaw area. She described an attack on her village to bdnews24.com, saying armed groups surrounded the village, shot and beat the men to death and tortured the women. "They would take 50 to 60 of the men at a time, kill them and dump the bodies in holes." After the attack, 8-10 days ago, Nasima fled with her son, daughter-in-law, grandson, daughter and son-in-law. Her daughter, Julekha, was lost on the way, she said. The family paid a middleman 40,000 Burmese kyat for the boat journey from Myanmar to Bangladesh. On reaching Bangladesh, they sought refuge at Cox Bazar's Kutupalang. "We have no home there," Nasima said. "There wasn't even enough room for all of us to sleep. We could only sit. So we decided to come here."
Worshippers at the mosque arranged food for the group after they sought refuge there.
Md Kashem, a 24-year-old Madrasa student, fled Maungdaw's Shilkhali village with seven members of his family. He says they paid 30,000 Burmese kyat to travel across the border on the Naf river.
The family fled after Kashem's older brother, Ali Jahar, was murdered by armed assailants.
His widow, 'Anwara' told bdnews24.com "We fled to a neighbouring village immediately after a group shot and killed my husband." "We were in Kutupalang," said Kashem. "The locals said we would need money to build houses. But we had no Bangladeshi taka. The locals said we could find money here, so here we are. Once we raise enough money we'll go back to Kutupalang."
Though the group managed to reach Chittagong with the help of two Kutupalang residents, the Rohingyas do not know anyone in the city. Asked about the group, Kotwali Police Station Inspector Nur Ahmed told bdnews24.com "We have sent a team to look into the matter and will be able to provide more details after they return." Bangladesh has been witnessing a wave of Rohingya refugees ever since the Myanmar military began a crackdown in Rakhine state three months ago. Bangladesh border guards have been pushing back boats with refugees from various points of the border.
Tens of thousands of Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since the Myanmar army started a massive crackdown against them in 1979. In 2012 the Bangladesh government barred Rohingyas from entering Bangladesh and have not relented since. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, however, that those Rohingyas who had already entered Bangladesh would be provided with humanitarian assistance. But she said no militancy will be tolerated.