Mus­lims refugees await chance to en­ter Bangladesh

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - World -

THE scene has played out with heart­break­ing reg­u­lar­ity as hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ro­hingya Mus­lims have fled per­se­cu­tion in Myan­mar and es­caped to neigh­bor­ing Bangladesh: ter­ri­fied knots of men, women and chil­dren cross­ing the swollen Naf river and wait­ing along the bor­der for per­mis­sion to cross.

On Wed­nes­day at least 2,000 ex­hausted and starv­ing peo­ple waited in rice paddy fields at one bor­der cross­ing for Bangladesh bor­der guards to let them en­ter. Evening fell, with no per­mis­sion granted.

So they waited, crouched in the muddy fields. The chil­dren car­ried younger sib­lings. The elderly were helped along by rel­a­tives. All of them were hun­gry and ex­hausted as they waited. Some col­lapsed. Oth­ers wept as they clung to their chil­dren.

The ex­o­dus of Ro­hingya Mus­lims started Au­gust 25 when in­sur­gents at­tacked dozens of po­lice posts in Myan­mar.

The ret­ri­bu­tion from Myan­mar’s au­thor­i­ties was swift and bru­tal.

Hun­dreds of Ro­hingya vil­lages in Rakhine state have been set on fire. Flee­ing Ro­hingya have told sto­ries of ar­son and rape and shoot­ings by Myan­mar sol­diers and Bud­dhist mobs.

The vi­o­lence, which the UN de­scribes as eth­nic cleans­ing, has pushed more than 600,000 Ro­hingya into Bangladesh.

Photo: AP

An ex­hausted Ro­hingya lies on the muddy ground af­ter cross­ing over from the Myan­mar bor­der into Bangladesh, Novem­ber 1.

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