Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Refugees turned away

Published:Wednesday | June 13, 2012 | 12:00 AM


Bangladesh yesterday turned away three boats carrying 1,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in neighbouring Myanmar, bringing to 1,500 the number of refugees blocked in recent days, officials said.

"They have been chased away," police official Jahangir Alam said by phone from Saint Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal after the three boats attempted to approach the shore of the island. "We are keeping our eyes open so that nobody can enter Bangladesh illegally."

Violence between Buddhists and minority Muslims in western Myanmar have left at least 12 people dead and hundreds of homes burned since Friday. Bangladesh earlier said it sent back 11 boats with about 500 Rohingya Muslims aboard in the past three days.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said at a news conference in the capital, Dhaka, that it was not in Bangladesh's interest to accept any refugees because the impoverished country's resources already are strained.

Some still slipped into Bangladesh, and one refugee allegedly wounded by gunfire from Myanmar security forces died yesterday at a hospital in Chittagong, a doctor said.