At least 14 Rohingya refugees – 11 of them children – died after their overloaded boat capsized near the Bangladesh coast on Sunday night, AFP reported.
The boat was carrying between 60 and 100 people, Bangladeshi authorities said. Thirteen refugees were rescued but scores were reported missing even after an all-night rescue operation by Border Guard Bangladesh. An unidentified official said some may have swum back to the Myanmar coast, from where the refugees are fleeing in fear of violence.
“We did not have any choice but to leave our village,” a Rohingya man who was on the boat told AFP, adding that the vessel overturned when it hit a shoal. “They [Burmese security forces] have restricted our movements.”s
Rohingyas have been denied citizenship in Myanmar and are classified as illegal immigrants. More than half a million Rohingyas have fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to Bangladesh since August 25, fearing violence and persecution by security forces. The United Nations has described the violence against the community as “ethnic cleansing”.