Myanmar authorities are laying land mines... to prevent the Rohingya from returning

Sergio Conner
September 24, 2017

The lines of frail and traumatized Rohingya streaming into Bangladesh have overwhelmed aid agencies and triggered alarm from world leaders, with ramshackle camps along the border swelling into one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.

According to the reports, the latest violence in Myanmar has sent an estimated 429,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing to Bangladesh in less than a month.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday set out a five-point plan calling for the protection of the Rohingyas in "safe zones that could be created inside Myanmar under United Nations supervision".

"No Rohingya came crossing our side of the border in the past few days", said Manzurul Hasan Khan, another BGB commander whose soldiers mostly patrol the land border.

She even refused to refer to the persecuted Muslims by their name Rohingya, pointing to her government's official position of not recognizing them as nationals.

Witnesses told the group that Myanmar military personnel also planted mines on roads inside Rakhine prior to their attacks on predominantly Rohingya villages.

The group's statement said the video and related satellite images was "damning evidence" that contradicts Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi's assertions that the military's so-called "clearance operations" ended on September 5.

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Dhaka has already conveyed to New Delhi that it would step up the attack on Nay Pyi Daw in all global forums, including the BIMSTEC, unless Suu Kyi Government takes back the Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh and ensure security, dignity and citizenship rights for them in Myanmar, sources told DH.

In his rejoinder to the Central government's affidavit, he said: "Rohingya are not involved in any act of militancy".

"With heightened tensions in Rakhine state, humanitarian staff and private contractors are facing serious challenges in implementing life-saving activities", noted Mr Pierre Peron, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Myanmar.

Sheikh Hasina accused Myanmar of carrying out "ethnic cleansing" campaign and said it was also laying landmines to stop Rohingya Muslims from ever returning.

Myanmar's army chief on Saturday blamed Rohinyga militants for an explosion outside a mosque in Rakhine state, as a rights group accused the military of starting fires in the region to prevent refugees from returning.

The once 1.1-million strong group are denied citizenship in mainly Buddhist Myanmar and widely viewed as foreign invaders from Bangladesh, a narrative pushed by army chief Min Aung Hlaing in regular Facebook posts.

".There can not be a general assumption that entire Rohingya community in India is involved in militancy related activities".

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