A small fishing boat packed with Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar sank as it neared Bangladesh on Monday, killing at least eight people, mostly children. Dozens more are missing, AFP reported.
The boat was carrying 50 people when it went down in the estuary of the Naf river, which divides the two countries, AFP quoted Lieutenant Colonel SM Ariful Islam as saying. The bodies of eight victims washed up on the river banks, while 21 survivors swum to safety.
“The majority of the victims were children,” the official from Border Guard Bangladesh said.
At least 200 Rohingya Muslims have drowned while making the journey to Bangladesh over the past six weeks. They travel in wooden boats that cannot withstand the rough waters near the coast, Fazlul Haq, a local official, told AFP. The accident comes a week after another boat with Rohingya refugees capsized in the area, killing at least 34.
More than five lakh Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces launched an operation in response to attacks allegedly carried out by militants. On October 11, the United Nations Human Rights office said the brutal attacks against Rohingyas in the northern Rakhine state were aimed at preventing them from returning to their homes. The attacks were “well-organised, coordinated and systematic”, the report said.