Boat packed with Rohingya refugees capsizes: 12 dead, mostly children

There were 100 people on it, 40 adults. Exodus of Myanmar’s Muslims continues. Since August 150 died trying to reach Bangladesh through the Naf river.

Cox’s Baxar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A boat packed with some 100 Rohingya refugees – many of them children – capsized yesterday evening in the mouth of the Naf river that separates Myanmar from Bangladesh, the coastguard and border guard officials said. The body count has reached 12, 10 of whom children.

The refugees were fleeing the violence in the Rakhine state, Myanmar. Only 40 of the 100 people aboard were adults, said area coastguard commander Alauddin Nayan. According to them, the boat sank at around 10:00 pm.

Violence in Myanmar exploded the 25th August, when the armed group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (Arsa) carried out a series of attacks that sparked a violent response on the part of the Myanmar Armed Forces. Since then, about 520,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine state for Bangladesh since late August, through thick jungle and perilous boat journeys across the Naf river. Around 150 Rohingya, many of them children, have drowned while trying to reach Bangladesh in inadequate boats.

Last week, a group of diplomats visiting northern Rakhine condemned the violence while backing the stand taken by Myanmar’s democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. A few days before, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, defined the refugee crisis a “human rights nightmare”.