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Rohingya refugees from Myanmar amid stories of racial cleanup | World affairs
Wafts of steam from scorching towns run through the monsoon-grey skies. Fugitives who flee for their life are flocking across the Myanmar frontier to Bangladesh, while the Myanmar and Rohingya militia peacekeeping force is escalating and threatening to become a human catastrophe. They say their towns will be attacked and burnt to the ground.
More than 18,500 Rohingya, a predominantly Moslem community, have escaped from the state of Rakhine to Bangladesh since 25 August. Bangladesh's helpers on Saturday said that 70,000 - almost 10% of the Rohingya people - had been traversed in less than 24h. Scattered around the city of Gundum, where Rohingya returnees have been coming since last sept.
Sheep and hens carried over by the fugitives scurry between the slimy legs of old ladies and small kids watered by the rain of the onslaught. The Myanmar is generally considered the best grade and is in high demand throughout Bangladesh. In addition to those already here, UN resources have said there could be another 20,000 fugitives marooned in a small stripe of no-man's-land separating mainly Buddhist Myanmar and predominantly Muslim Bangladesh.
These Rohingya, who have been hindered from arriving in Bangladesh by frontier patrols, have little means of assistance and have been obliged to depend on the help of locals to live. The state of Rohingya and the state of Yakhine are no stranger to racial outrage. In October last year 87,000 Rohingya were driven to Bangladesh. But both the fugitives and Sakhawat said that this year was different.
"We have had large inflows in 2012, 2015 and 2016, but this year it has broke every record," he said. "Ominous is that fewer men are now coming to Bangladesh than in other years. Sakhavat, who spent four in the Baichari area of the frontier, said: "Rohingya said the Myanmar Army is randomly assassinating men of combat-style.
" Said he also hears reports from four communities north of Maungdaw that "the armed forces are taking the kids out of their mothers' hands and throw them away". A Rakhine -based NGO, Fortify Right, reports that Chut Pyin villagers in the Sittwe County talked of the Myanmar armed forces and grassroots civil society being beheaded.
Rohingya come from Myanmar's west Rakhine state. The number of Rohingya returnees in Bangladesh is put at over 400,000. In Myanmar they are systematically discriminated against and often described as the most prosecuted ethnic minorities in the run. Burma is denying their nationality and claiming they are Bangladeshi migrants.
The escalating violent situation in Rakhine began last months when 30 Myanmar frontier guards and a military basis were assaulted by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Military (Arsa), an insurgency group that began work in October 2016. As a reaction to this, the police started an "evacuation" campaign backed by buddhistic militia, which the Rohingya escapees say they are evicting them from the state.
The Bangladesh Boarder Guards (BGB) in Tumbru look at the temporary shelter for refugees forced into the no-man's-land between the Naf and the Myanmar Fences. There is a specific Myanmar policeman station embedded in the saplings. Smoking from the surrounding towns that have been burned down is sometimes seen, and locals describe the humming of choppers as Myanmar troops move back and forth between isolated Outstations and other Rohingyaowns.
The holiday this week-end was canceled for the guard. You have orders to keep the Rohingya away from Bangladesh. Bangladesh's authorities are seeking to maintain relations with Myanmar and fear that more migrants could interfere with their own campaigns against Islamic militants. In some places ankle-deep in the sludge, they sound their pipes and scream at Rohingya, who tries to cross the stream to return.
"Fear of Arsa in Myanmar. They' re not attacking the towns where Arsa is present. They' re only hitting places where they know there's only a civilian population. "He said the fugitives said they were aiming at civilians." 19-year-old Jahir Khan Babby is living in the town of Tombro, 200 metres inside Bangladesh.
"He said Rohingya is coming here to ask for help." "Babby said that for a small amount of money, village people help everywhere between 50 and 100 Rohingya across the stream at dawn. "If I were a Rohingya, I would be fighting for my country," he said and joined a joint opinion of the Bangladeshi people who silently support Arsa.
The Rohingya are similar to Bangladeshis in cultural terms. There are many who have come to Bangladesh since 25 August with family members who have escaped there in recent years and have now assisted in smuggling them over. However, the dynamic of the Rakhine dispute is shifting. Supported by the greater popular backing, they have nestled themselves in the lodgings at nights and watched over the state.
Asylum-seekers say Mr Asa receives funds and arms from groups in Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Australia, and Mr Asa militants have reported that new assaults are impending in Myanmar. Rohingya say they could start taking action against Myanmar's army with greater assistance. "You see it as a menace and want to build good relationships with Myanmar at all costs.
" In Bangladesh, we recently suggested common strike and patrol operations. The Kutupalong is the destination of most Rohingya refugees. "Myanmar army fired in my legs when I was on the farm," he said. "He said, "I came to Bangladesh on a gurney. The Fortify Rights believe that a "massive influx" of Rohingya will try to get to Bangladesh in the next few weeks.
"He said the army shot and ran. A Hindu town, one kilometer northwest of Kutupalong, is home to Hindu Rohingya from Rakhine, who have also escaped through the hills.