Myan­mar ac­cused of vi­o­lat­ing Bangladesh airspace

Bangladesh fumes, sum­mons Myan­mar en­voy

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Bangladeshi au­thor­i­ties sum­moned Myan­mar’s en­voy to protest what they said were vi­o­la­tions of their airspace amid an ex­o­dus of Ro­hingya Mus­lims flee­ing vi­o­lence in western Myan­mar. Myan­mar’s pres­i­den­tial spokesman yes­ter­day said there’s no ev­i­dence of any tres­pass­ing and that Dhaka should have reached out to dis­cuss its con­cerns in­stead of is­su­ing pub­lic state­ments.

The Bangladesh Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs said Friday that Myan­mar drones and he­li­copters flew into Bangladeshi airspace on Sun­day, Tues­day and Thurs­day. It said a protest note was handed to Myan­mar’s en­voy Friday evening. Bangladesh warned that the “provoca­tive acts” could lead to con­se­quences. In Yan­gon, pres­i­den­tial spokesman Zaw Htay said that while Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary de­nied cross­ing into Bangladesh’s airspace, the mat­ter was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated. “We don’t know ex­actly if they re­leased that state­ment for po­lit­i­cal rea­sons,” he said of Bangladesh’s protest.

He added that Myan­mar was “trans­port­ing ra­tions for dis­placed peo­ple for emer­gency as­sis­tance” to areas close to the bor­der and that Bangladesh “needs to un­der­stand that as well.” An ex­o­dus of up to 400,000 Ro­hingya Mus­lims be­gan Aug. 25 when Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary launched “clear­ance op­er­a­tions” in Rakhine state fol­low­ing deadly Aug 25 at­tacks by a Ro­hingya in­sur­gent group on po­lice posts. Those flee­ing have de­scribed as in­dis­crim­i­nate at­tacks by se­cu­rity forces and Bud­dhist mobs.

The Myan­mar govern­ment says hun­dreds have died, mostly Ro­hingya “ter­ror­ists,” and that 176 out of 471 Ro­hingya vil­lages have been aban­doned. Myan­mar has in­sisted that Ro­hingya in­sur­gents and flee­ing vil­lagers them­selves are de­stroy­ing their vil­lages. It has of­fered no proof to back these charges. The UN has de­scribed the vi­o­lence against the Ro­hingya in Myan­mar as eth­nic cleans­ing - a term that de­scribes an or­ga­nized ef­fort to rid an area of an eth­nic group by dis­place­ment, de­por­ta­tion or killing. Eth­nic Ro­hingya have faced per­se­cu­tion and dis­crim­i­na­tion in ma­jor­ity-Bud­dhist Myan­mar for decades and are de­nied cit­i­zen­ship, even though many fam­i­lies have lived there for gen­er­a­tions. The govern­ment says there is no such eth­nic­ity as Ro­hingya and say they are Ben­galis who il­le­gally mi­grated to Myan­mar from Bangladesh. Rights groups like Amnesty In­ter­na­tional and Hu­man Rights watch have said that they have ev­i­dence that Myan­mar troops were sys­tem­at­i­cally tar­get­ing and set­ting Ro­hingya vil­lages on fire over the last three weeks.

UN agen­cies fear con­tin­ued vi­o­lence in Myan­mar may even­tu­ally drive up to 1 mil­lion Ro­hingya into Bangladesh. As hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ro­hingya have crossed into Bangladesh, re­lief camps are over­flow­ing and food, medicine and drink­ing wa­ter has been in short sup­ply. Mo­hammed Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh’s ju­nior for­eign min­is­ter, said yes­ter­day that In­dia, Turkey, Morocco, In­done­sia, Iran and Malaysia have al­ready sent re­lief and the goods are wait­ing in an air­port in nearby Chit­tagong. He said more aid was also ex­pected to come via ships soon.

“The United Na­tions and many other pri­vate or­ga­ni­za­tions are work­ing there to sup­port hun­dreds of thou­sands who are in dire need of as­sis­tance,” said Khaled Mah­mud, a top of­fi­cial in Cox’s Bazar. He ac­knowl­edged that aid dis­tri­bu­tion re­mained hap­haz­ard three weeks into the cri­sis. “Our work must be very or­ga­nized and sys­tem­atic,” he said. “We are work­ing on that.” — AP

BALUKHALI: Ro­hingya Mus­lims, who re­cently crossed over from Myan­mar into Bangladesh, at­tack a sus­pected child traf­ficker near Balukhali refugee camp, Bangladesh. Thou­sands of Ro­hingya are con­tin­u­ing to stream across the bor­der, with UN of­fi­cials and oth­ers de­mand­ing that Myan­mar halt what they de­scribe as a cam­paign of eth­nic cleans­ing that has driven nearly 400,000 Ro­hingya to flee in the past three weeks. — AP

GUMD­HUM: Ro­hingya Mus­lim refugee carry sup­plies through the Jal­pa­toli refugee camp in the ‘no mans land’ be­tween Myan­mar and Bangladesh in Gumd­hum dis­trict yes­ter­day. Bangladesh Prime Min­is­ter Sheikh Hasina headed for the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly yes­ter­day to plead for global help cop­ing with the Ro­hingya cri­sis, as the refugee del­uge es­cap­ing a crack­down in Myan­mar topped 400,000. — AFP

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