Bangladesh ramps up border patrols to deter Rohingya inflow

REUTERS
COX'S BAZAR / YANGON
Published 17.08.2017 23:37

Bangladesh stepped up patrols on its border with Myanmar, following reports that about 1,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into the country in the past two weeks, amid fresh tension in its neighbor's northwestern Rakhine state.

Security forces in Buddhist-majority Myanmar launched a massive crackdown in the state after Rohingya insurgents killed nine police in October, but the flow of refugees into Bangladesh had slowed until hundreds more soldiers were deployed recently."No one will be allowed to illegally cross into our country," Manuzurul Hasan Khan, a senior Bangladesh border guard official, told Reuters, adding that the two countries were jointly patrolling frontier areas. There had been no major influx recently, he said, adding that the border was peaceful, with more joint patrols scheduled for this week.

However, Rahim and a Rohingya leader in Bangladesh put the total of new refugees at more than 1,000.

There had been a constant "slow movement of people across the border," a senior U.N. official in Bangladesh said.

About 1,000 households had crossed each month in April, May and June, estimated the official, who declined to be identified in the absence of authorization to talk to the media. The figure rose to 1,300 households in July, the official said, adding that the border area was "definitely seeing more new arrivals" in August.About 500 of the newly arrived Rohingya live near an unofficial refugee camp in Leda, near the Naf river separating Bangladesh from Myanmar, said Zayed, a Rohingya leader. The rest have moved elsewhere in the border district of Cox's Bazar. Before the latest inflow, about 75,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh since October, joining tens of thousands already there and straining resources.

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