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United Nations fears 'further exodus' of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh

09 October 2017

The exodus began after Myanmar security forces responded to Rohingya militants' attacks on August 25 by launching a brutal crackdown that the United Nations has denounced as ethnic cleansing.

Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) insurgents say they are ready to respond to any peace move by the Myanmar government.

Bangladesh initially kept its border closed after violence broke out in Myanmar's western Rakhine, but later chose to open it up to Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.

The shadowy, poorly-armed Arsa tipped northern Rakhine into crisis when it ambushed police posts on Aug 25.

More than half a million Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since Burmese forces began a crackdown in Rakhine State at the end of August, in a response to anti-state violence that has been likened to genocide.

Many in Buddhist-majority Myanmar consider the Rohingyas, who are mostly Muslims, as illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

"The situation is very bad", said Kazi Abdur Rahman, a senior official in the Bangladesh border district of Cox's Bazar, where most of the Rohingya are settled.

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The coast guard of Bangladesh discovered Thursday, the lifeless body of 26 the Rohingya, many of them children, whose boats have capsized as they fled the violence in Burma.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) welcomes the decision by Khairy Jamaluddin to engage with the Myanmar embassy with regards to the persecution and killing of ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine, Myanmar.

Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship, describing them as "Bengali" interlopers.

However, Robert Watkins, the United Nations resident co-ordinator in Dhaka, said overcrowding could heighten the spread of disease, which is already a problem among the refugee population.

"It is much easier to manage people, manage the health situation and security situation if there are a number of different camps rather than one concentrated camp", Watkins said, adding, "There are stronger possibilities, if there are any infectious diseases that spread, that will spread very quickly."

An estimated 2,000 Rohingyas are arriving in Bangladesh a day, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Friday. Two thousand acres (790 hectares) of land next to the existing Kutupalong camp were set aside last month for the new Rohingya arrivals.

United Nations fears 'further exodus' of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh