Rohingya victims try to recover at Bangladeshi hospitals

SAFVAN ALLAHVERDI
COX'S BAZAR, Bangladesh
Published 28.09.2017 19:08
Updated 28.09.2017 19:12
Faisal, 6, a Rohingya refugee who broke his hand while fleeing Myanmar, is treated at the Cox's Bazar District Sadar Hospital, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
Faisal, 6, a Rohingya refugee who broke his hand while fleeing Myanmar, is treated at the Cox's Bazar District Sadar Hospital, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are filling hospitals in neighboring Bangladesh with life-threatening injuries from gunshots, beatings, stabbing, burnings and even rapes by Myanmar's military forces as they struggle to heal from physical and psychological trauma

Many of the refugees lie on thin, dirty mattresses on the floors of overflowing hospitals, where they wait many hours for treatment due to the overwhelming number of patients.

One physician working in Sadar Hospital's emergency room in Bangladesh told Anadolu Agency (AA): "Every day, new Rohingya patients are arriving at our hospital, most of them pregnant women and children," adding that "Many of these patients have bullet or knife wounds as well as pneumonia, diarrhea and infection."

Rohingyas are fleeing the bloodshed in Myanmar where a government-launched "security operation" has led to scores of men, women and children being killed by security forces and Buddhist mobs. Homes have also been torched and looted in villages across Rakhine state.

More than 480,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from the northern part of Rakhine state since the violence began on Aug. 25, according to the U.N. Migration Agency.

According to Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, roughly 3,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed since the crackdown began.

Meanwhile at Sadar Hospital, Dr. Uttin told AA that doctors there have performed a grueling 25 surgical operations within the last 24 hours, warning that the dire situation is getting worse due to the lack of critical medical supplies.

"But, we're doing our best to give them proper treatment all the time," he asserted.

A 30-year-old mother and refugee from Myanmar's Maungdaw, Dildar Begom, arrived at Sadar Hospital on Sept. 19 with a serious head injury are being hit with a rifle butt.

Three of Begom's children along with her husband were brutally killed by Myanmar soldiers in front of her eyes, soon after soldiers stormed into their home.

"I begged for my children's lives but they didn't care," Begom told AA through tears.

Only one of Begom's daughters survived, and both are being treated at the hospital for damage to their ears, after Myanmar soldiers pulled the gold earrings they were wearing off, ripping their ear lobes.

"I don't know where to go when we leave the hospital," she told AA. "I don't know whether my relatives are alive or where they are."Such images of suffering have become common at Sadar Hospital, according to full-time nurse Jamilee who works at the facility.

A Rohingya Muslim and patient at the hospital Imam Hussain told AA:"The [Myanmar] army threw a hand grenade into my house, then shot me in the leg at very close range as I was trying to get out."

'My mother and brother were killed instantly'

Hussain told AA that he arrived with his sister at Bangladesh's border after the pair walked through the hills and the jungle for nine days.

Strikingly, nearly all of the children at the hospital have broken legs.

When asked why the children have similar injuries, Rohingya families at the hospital told AA that Myanmar soldiers forced their children to stretch out their legs before stomping on them, torturing them as to make it more difficult for them to flee.

A seven-year-old Rohingya boy from the village of Hasurata in Rakhine, Ensar Ulla, arrived at Sadar Hospital with a broken leg and had to be carried for six days to the hospital by his father, who spoke to AA.

Myanmar soldiers "do this intentionally, they want us to suffer," the boy's father said. "It was the hardest thing to watch while they were stomping on my son's legs."

Another patient at the hospital, 15-year-old Rukhiya Katu was raped before being shot through the chest with a bullet that exited through her back.

Katu's 67-year-old grandmother, Ayamar Katu, sat next to her at the hospital and said that they were together when the military raided their home.

She went on to tell AA that upon entering their home, Myanmar soldiers immediately shot two of her sons before raping her daughter, daughter-in-law and granddaughter Rukhiya one by one before shooting them.

"Rukhiya is not even married and she was raped by six military men," her grandmother told AA. "I just wanted to die having to witness what happened," she said.

"There was blood everywhere," she added.

Regarding why Myanmar soldiers are committing mass rape, Ayamar said she thinks it is because "This is the most effective way to humiliate us and tell us to never come back again."

Turkey has been at the fore amid efforts to provide aid to Rohingya refugees, with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan highlighting the issue at the recent U.N. General Assembly.

Rohingya Muslims are the world's most persecuted people according to the U.N., and have faced increasing threats of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.Last October, following attacks on key border posts in Rakhine's district of Maungdaw, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The U.N. has documented incidences of mass gang rapes, the killing of infants and young children, brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar security personnel. In a report, U.N. investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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