Bangladesh detains Myanmar Rohingya refugees

Police in southeastern Bangladesh have detained five Rohingya Muslims who fled deadly communal clashes in neighbouring Myanmar, an officer said on Sunday.

Rohingya refugees who survived the sinking of their overloaded boat walk onto a beach following their rescue by Bangladeshi border guards in Teknaf on November 7. Police in southeastern Bangladesh have detained five Rohingya Muslims who fled deadly communal clashes in neighbouring Myanmar, an officer said on Sunday.

Mohammad Ismail, a police chief of Satkania in the district of Chittagong, said that the male detainees, aged between 25 and 45, were charged with illegal entry.

"We have learned they entered Bangladesh through the Cox's Bazaar district that borders Myanmar, and moved to Satkania to evade arrest," Ismail told AFP, adding that 29 other Rohingyas have been detained in the last month.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled Myanmar in past decades to escape persecution, often heading to Bangladesh, and recent outbreaks of violence, in June and October, triggered another exodus.

Border guards on Sunday said at least 800 Rohingya who tried to cross into Bangladesh over river or land borders have been turned away in recent weeks.

After the June sectarian clashes in western Myanmar, Bangladesh river patrol teams turned back at least 16 boats carrying Rohingya, most of them women and children.

The move drew criticism from the United Nations and rights groups, but Bangladesh said it would not accept any new refugees as it was already burdened with an estimated 300,000 Rohingya living in its southeast.

Myanmar's 800,000 stateless Rohingya are viewed by the UN as among the most persecuted minorities on the planet.

Seen by the Myanmar government as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, they face tight restrictions on their movements and limited access to employment, education and public services.

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Writer: AFP
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