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Thousands of Rohingya Fleeing Violence, Hunger Arrive in Bangladesh

Thousands of Rohingya Fleeing Violence, Hunger Arrive in BangladeshThousands of Rohingya Fleeing Violence, Hunger Arrive in Bangladesh

Hungry, destitute and scared, thousands of new Rohingya refugees crossed the border into Bangladesh from Myanmar early on Monday, Reuters witnesses said, fleeing hunger and attacks by Buddhist mobs that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.

Wading through waist-deep water with children strapped to their sides, the refugees told Reuters they had walked through bushes and forded monsoon-swollen streams for days, Reuters reported.

A seemingly never-ending flow entered Bangladesh near the village of Palongkhali. Many were injured, with the elderly carried on makeshift stretchers, while women balanced household items, such as pots, rice sacks and clothing, on their heads.

”We couldn’t step out of the house for the last month because the military were looting people,“ said Mohammad Shoaib, 29, who wore a yellow vest and balanced jute bags of food and aluminum pots on a bamboo pole. ”They started firing on the village. So we escaped into another.

“Day by day, things kept getting worse, so we started moving towards Bangladesh. Before we left, I went back near my village to see my house, and the entire village was burnt down,” Shoaib added.

They joined about 536,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar since Aug. 25, when coordinated Rohingya insurgent attacks sparked a ferocious military response, with the fleeing people accusing security forces of arson, killings and rape.

Myanmar rejects accusations of ethnic cleansing and has labeled the militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army who launched the attacks as terrorists, who have killed civilians and burnt villages.

The European Union said on Monday it would suspend invitations to Myanmar’s army commander-in-chief and other senior generals “in the light of the disproportionate use of force carried out by the security forces”.

A statement issued after a meeting of EU foreign ministers also called for thorough investigation of “credible allegations of serious human rights violations and abuses”.

Caption: Rohingya refugees arrive to the Bangladeshi side of the Naf river after crossing the border from Myanmar, in Palang Khali, Bangladesh October 16.

 

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