9 Oct 2017

At least 12 Rohingya drown in boat capsize

7:20 pm on 9 October 2017

At least 12 Rohingya Muslim refugees, mainly children, have died after a boat packed with Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized near the Bangladesh coast, officials say.

Rohingya people, fled from ongoing military operation in Myanmar Rakhain state, ride on boat at Shah Pori Island to go to refugee camp in Shah Pori Island in Bangladesh on October 07, 2017.
Rohinngya people fled continuing in Bangladesh.

Rohingya people ride on boat at Shah Pori Island to go to a refugee camp in Bangladesh. Photo: AFP

The boat sank near Shah Porir Dwip, on the southern tip of Bangladesh, late on Sunday, Bangladesh authorities said.

It was not known how many people were on board but the boats operated by fishermen often cram in dozens of desperate Rohingya, fleeing a Myanmar security operation that the United Nations has denounced as ethnic cleansing.

Bangladeshi police officer Mohammed Mainuddin told Reuters that 12 bodies - 10 children, one woman and a man - had been recovered.

A Reuters photographer earlier saw the bodies of four children, two women and a man washed up on a beach.

Authorities said earlier at least eight people had been rescued.

Some 519,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since 25 August, when attacks by Rohingya militants on police and military posts in Rakhine State sparked a ferocious response from Myanmar's security forces.

Myanmar rejects accusations of ethnic cleansing and has labelled the militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, who launched the initial attacks, as terrorists.

The insurgents declared a one-month ceasefire from 10 September, which is due to end at midnight on Monday.

More than six weeks after the violence erupted, Rohingya continue to arrive in Bangladesh, which was already home to 400,000 members of the Myanmar Muslim minority before the latest crisis.

Mostly Buddhist Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as citizens, even though many have lived in Rakhine for generations.

Sunday's accident was the latest involving refugees. On 28 September, a boat carrying about 80 refugees overturned with only 17 survivors.

In early September, 46 bodies were recovered after a boat sank in the narrow stretch of water that separates Myanmar and Bangladesh. Among the dead were 19 children, 18 women and nine men.

- Reuters

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