Rohingya crisis: Boat capsizes, leaving 14 dead

Police and local residents look at the boat where Rohingya refugees were found dead near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: 28 September 2017Image copyright
AFP/Getty Images

Image caption

The boat capsized a short distance from the coast near the city of Cox’s Bazar

At least 14 Rohingya people – all women and children – have drowned after their boat capsized off the coast of Bangladesh, police say.

Survivors say the boat overturned after apparently hitting a submerged object near the coastal city of Cox’s Bazar.

Police told the BBC that 40 people were on board the vessel.

In the past 48 hours, about 2,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh by boat, fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Witnesses said that the boat capsized just metres from the coast.

“They drowned before our eyes,” Mohammad Sohel, a shopkeeper, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“Minutes later, the waves washed the bodies to the beach,” he said.

  • Tales of horror from Myanmar
  • How we saw through the official story

Nine of the victims were children and the others women, police official Chailaw Marma told the BBC.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionMyanmar: Who are the Rohingya?

This comes as the UN says a planned visit to Rakhine has been postponed by the authorities.

A UN spokesperson in Yangon initially told the BBC no reason was given for the move – but later said it was due to bad weather.

They said the government had told them the trip would happen next week.

More than 500,000 Rohingya – the majority of whom are Muslim – have fled across the border to Bangladesh amid reports of military atrocities.

UN aid personnel were forced to leave Rakhine when the military began a crackdown on Rohingya militants behind attacks on security personnel in August.

  • What sparked latest violence?

Rohingya who have crossed the border accuse Myanmar’s military, backed by Buddhist mobs, of trying to drive them out with a campaign of beatings, killings and village burnings. Images and reports from journalists confirm many villages have been razed.

But the military say they are targeting only militants.

Earlier this week, they said the bodies of 45 Hindus killed by Rohingya militants had been found in a mass grave.

Source link