DHAKA – Bangladeshi authorities recovered on Wednesday the corpses of nine Rohingyas, including three women and three children, from the River Naf, a natural border between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
The latest deaths raise the toll of Rohingya refugees who have died while crossing over to Bangladesh, fleeing ongoing violence in the conflict-torn Rakhine state in Myanmar, through the river route to 97, Cox’s Bazar District’s Intelligence Officer, Provas Chandra Dhar said.
“Since last night, nine bodies were recovered from the river (...) Two to three of them had marks of bullet wound, rest of them died when their boat sank,” Lieutenant Colonel Ariful Islam, the commanding officer of Border Guard Bangladesh, Teknaf Zone, told EFE, adding that the boats likely sank two or three days ago.
At least 370,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh in the past three weeks to escape an ongoing violent military offensive in the Rakhine state in northwest Myanmar after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) rebels had attacked multiple government posts in the state on Aug. 25.
Meanwhile, the ARSA announced a month-long ceasefire last Saturday to allow the entry of humanitarian aid, which the Myanmar government rejected.
The latest Rohingya exodus follows a similar wave last year in October, when a similar insurgent attack on border posts had led to an aggressive military offensive in the region resulting in the exodus of more than 80,000 Rohingyas.
Before the current crisis erupted, between 300,000-500,000 Rohingyas were living in Bangladesh, out of whom only 32,000 enjoy refugee status and live concentrated in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar district in southeastern Bangladesh.