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Bangladesh to turn back Rohingya boats, says Minister

Navy and coastguard are on alert, says Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen.  

Bangladesh will not accept two boats carrying hundreds of reportedly starving Rohingya refugees, the country’s Foreign Minister said on Thursday as calls grew to rescue the Muslim outcasts.

Also read: Why no protection for persecuted Rohingya Muslims, ask settlers

The new controversy over stranded Rohingya blew up just a week after dozens starved to death on a boat that was left at sea for two months before it could land.

Activists are fearful that large numbers of Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority from mostly Buddhist Myanmar, may be trapped on boats and unable to reach other countries.

Rights group Amnesty International has said two fishing trawlers carrying some 500 Rohingya women, men and children are in the Bay of Bengal after being pushed away by Malaysia.

Bangladesh has ordered increased patrols in the Bay of Bengal to stop the boats entering, Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen said.

“Two boats carrying Rohingya are trying to get into our waters,” he said, adding that the vessels could have come from Myanmar’s Rakhine State following fighting between the military and rebel groups, or “somewhere else”.

“Our Navy and coastguard are on alert ,” Mr. Momen said. “No more Rohingya will be allowed in.”

About one million Rohingya are in camps on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border having fled decades of persecution in their home region in Rakhine.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 4:27:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/bangladesh-to-turn-back-rohingya-boats-says-minister/article31417969.ece

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