• Dhaka, Yangon meet over stranded Rohingya


    COX’S BAZAR: Bangladesh and Myanmar were to hold a border meeting on Tuesday on the fate of some 6,000 Rohingya refugees stranded in no man’s land between the two countries, officials said.

    The 6,000 at first refused to enter Bangladesh in the influx that poured across the border after the Myanmar military launched a crackdown against the Muslim minority last August.

    Now they say they are not allowed to enter Bangladesh and the United Nations and aid groups have called on the Dhaka authorities to let them in.

    Bangladesh refugee commission chief Mohammad Abul Kalam said a team led by a regional government administrator would meet Myanmar officials to discuss the Rohingya stuck in limbo near the Tombru border point.

    Kalam said Myanmar wanted Bangladesh’s help to persuade the stranded Rohingya to return to their homeland in Rakhine state.

    “We will know what kind of cooperation they want once we reach there,” he told Agence France-Presse.

    A Myanmar minister visited the strip of land at Tombru last week.

    The minister warned the Rohingya refugees, who live in makeshift settlements, that they will face “consequences” if they do not take up a Myanmar offer to return.

    Fence talks
    A video circulated on social media shows deputy minister for home affairs Aung Soe addressing refugees through a barbed wire fence.

    The no man’s land Rohingya told Agence France-Presse they live in fear as the Myanmar army had recently set up bunkers near the fence.

    “They tell us that we should leave this place or else they will shoot us,” said Rashid Ahmed, 32.

    Another Rohingya, Ismail, said some 400 Myanmar soldiers regularly patrol near the border line, creating panic among the refugees. “They often fire blanks,” he said.

    The stranded Rohingya featured last week in Dhaka talks between home ministers of the two nations. The two decided to send a mission to the border strip on Tuesday.

    Kalam said the stranded Rohingya technically live on the Myanmar side of the border and that they had previously refused to take shelter in camps inside Bangladesh.

    Some 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since the crackdown that the United Nations has called ethnic cleansing.



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