29 Sep 2017

Children drown as Rohingya boat capsizes

7:14 am on 29 September 2017

At least 14 Rohingya people - all women and children - have drowned after their boat capsized off the coast of Bangladesh, police say.

People come to see the boat where Rohingya Muslim refugees were found dead on the shore of Inani beach, near Cox's Bazar.

Police said 40 people were on board the vessel. The victims were found on the shore of Inani Beach, near Cox's Bazar. Photo: AFP

Survivors said the boat overturned after apparently hitting a submerged object near the coastal city of Cox's Bazar.

Police said 40 people were on board the vessel.

In the past 48 hours about 2000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh by boat, fleeing violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Witnesses said the boat capsized just metres from the coast.

"They drowned before our eyes," shopkeeper Mohammad Sohel told the AFP news agency.

"Minutes later, the waves washed the bodies to the beach," he said.

Nine of the victims were children and the others women, police official Chailaw Marma told the BBC.

It comes as the UN said a planned visit to Rakhine has been postponed by the authorities.

A UN spokesperson in Yangon initially told the BBC no reason was given for the move - but later said it was due to bad weather.

They said the government had told them the trip would happen next week.

More than 500,000 Rohingya - the majority of whom are Muslim - have fled across the border to Bangladesh amid reports of military atrocities.

UN aid personnel were forced to leave Rakhine when the military began a crackdown on Rohingya militants behind attacks on security personnel in August.

Rohingya who have crossed the border accuse Myanmar's military, backed by Buddhist mobs, of trying to drive them out with a campaign of beatings, killings and village burnings. Images and reports from journalists confirm many villages have been razed.

But the military said they were only targeting militants.

Earlier this week, they said the bodies of 45 Hindus had been found in a mass grave and that they had been killed by Rohingya militants.

- BBC

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