Several dead, scores missing in Rohingya capsize
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh - At least 12 people died and scores were missing yesterday after a boat packed with Rohingya refugees - many of them children - capsized, the latest tragedy to strike those fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.
Coast guard and border guard officials said the boat was overloaded with about 100 people when it sank late on Sunday in the mouth of the Naf River that separates Myanmar from Bangladesh.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) official Abdul Jalil told AFP 12 bodies had been recovered after an all-night rescue operation, saying "they include 10 children, an elderly woman and a man." Area coast guard commander Alauddin Nayan said the boat capsized near the coastal village of Galachar with nearly 100 people on board.
He said about 40 people in the boat were adult Rohingya Muslims fleeing their villages in Rakhine. "The rest were children," he said.
Since the boat capsized near the Myanmar side of the border, Jalil said many may have swum to the Rakhine coast.
Local media quoted a survivor as saying the vessel capsized due to high waves and bad weather.
Nearly 520 000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since late August, many walking for days through thick jungle before making the perilous boat journey across the Naf River.
Bangladesh has made the journey even more difficult with a clampdown on boats running refugees across the Naf River.
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