Rohingya exodus to Bangladesh exceeds 400000

According to the United Nations almost 400,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25 after fleeing a military crackdown launched by Myanmar's military in response to attacks by Rohingya rebels.

Since late August over 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar to escape a government offensive, according to United Nations estimates.

"Refugees are still pouring in".

Aid agencies are still blocked from accessing all of Rakhine state due to what the Myanmar military says are security concerns.

Also Friday, protests took place in Bangladesh and South Africa over the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims.

"There's really no sign that this flow of people is going to dry up", said Chris Lom of the International Organization for Migration. "We are working to contain them within Cox's Bazar".

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Security Council have urged Myanmar to end the violence, which he said was best described as ethnic cleansing.

Without offering proof, Myanmar has contended that Rohingya insurgents and departing villagers destroyed their own villages.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday that while Moscow was concerned "we can not discard the fact that it was triggered by terrorist activities".

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The Army and aid agencies will build 14,000 shelters, each housing six families, near the city of Cox's Bazar, the Daily Star newspaper reported. "We are looking forward to an early cessation of the violence and to elevating the humanitarian situation of the population".

The Rohingya are a minority group largely based in Rakhine.

"Our field research backs what the satellite imagery has indicated - that the Burmese [Myanmar] military is directly responsible for the mass burning of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State", said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

The group said it had detected 80 big fires in Rohingya areas since August 25. There are reports of villages being burned to the ground and the military deliberately targeting civilians, but access to the region is limited, so the reports can't be independently verified.

The violence has mounted global pressure on Myanmar's military leaders and civilian administration, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

"India's position is the same as Bangladesh's over the Rohingya issue", Nazrul quoted Swaraj as telling Hasina.

"The Royingya refugees won't be allowed to go outside the camp", Bangladeshi Minister of Home Affairs Asaduzzaman Khan said on September 10. Myanmar has ruled that out and says it will accept anyone who can verify their citizenship.

Dhaka has also protested Myanmar's branding of the Rohingya people as "Bengalis" - the main ethnic people in Bangladesh.

  • Sonia Alvarado