Rohingya in ‘no man’s land’ reject return on Myanmar terms

March 19, 2018 | By | Reply More

Myanmar: Rohingya holed up in a border “no man’s land” after fleeing Myanmar will only accept repatriation to their home villages, a local leader said Sunday (Mar 18), rejecting any move to transit camps for fear of long-term confinement.

rohingya-reject-return-myanmarSome 700,000 Rohingya have been driven into neighbouring Bangladesh since last August by a major army crackdown – purportedly intended to “clear” northern Rakhine state of militants from the Muslim minority.

The UN describes it as a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Muslim Rohingya, an allegation staunchly denied by mainly Buddhist Myanmar.

Overwhelmed by the influx, Bangladesh wants Myanmar to take them back and the neighbours agreed to start repatriating refugees in January. But so far no Rohingya have returned.

Since August several thousand of the Rohingya have been living in tents beyond a barbed-wire fence which roughly demarcates the border zone between the two countries, reliant on NGO food handouts.

Myanmar authorities are pressing hard for their return and have increased troop numbers on their side of the fence, accusing Rohingya militants of infiltrating the camp.

But despite the apparent show of force and looming monsoon rains, a camp leader told reporters they would not bow to pressure to return or to move forward into Bangladesh.

“We have no intention to enter Bangladesh. We are not Bengali … we are Myanmar original citizens,” Dil Mohamed, 51, told reporters through barbed wire in an interview in “no man’s land”, during a government-steered trip through the Maungdaw border district.

The international Red Cross currently provides supplies to the group, who collect it by crossing a creek and reaching the Bangladesh side.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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