Dhaka – Dhaka on Thursday called Naypyidaw for early repatriation of all Rohingya Muslims crossed the borders into Bangladesh, including those entered after the recent spate of persecution on the minority group in Myanmar.
“Bangladesh is ready to engage with Myanmar to discuss process and modalities of repatriation,” Kamrul Ahsan, a senior official at Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, said after a meeting with Myo Myint Than, Myanmar envoy to Bangladesh.
The foreign ministry called the envoy to lodge protest as a Myanmar boat fired guns on a Bangladeshi fishing boat in the Bay of Bengal on December 27.
Ahsan termed the Rohingya Muslims as “Myanmar Citizens” and asked Naypyidaw to urgently address the “root cause” of the problem in the Rakhine state so that the minority Muslims did not need to take shelter across the border.
He said nearly 50,000 Rohingya Muslims took shelter in Bangladesh after Myanmar launched the counterinsurgency sweeps in the Rakhine state on October 9. He added more than 300,000 “Myanmar nationals” had been staying in Bangladesh for years.
Rights groups have accused the Burmese military of perpetrating mass murder, looting and rape against the Rohingya as the army began an offensive following attack on police outposts in October that killed nine officers.
More than 100 people were reportedly killed in the military offensive.
Nearly 29,000 Rohingya documented as refugees have been living in two squalid camps in the Bangladeshi border district of Cox’s Bazar, ever since the 1990s, when they were driven out of Myanmar. The others are living as undocumented refugees.
At Thursday’s meeting Bangladesh protested the unprovoked attack and firing on a Bangladeshi fishing boat FV JANIVA KHALEDA-1 on 27 December fishing off the south-east of the Saint Martin’s Island within Bangladesh’s territorial water by a Myanmar trawler.
Four people were seriously injured in the attack.
Ahsan mentioned that the Myanmar trawler with armed people on board took the Bangladeshi fishing boat along with the fishermen including the injured ones to a nearby patrolling Myanmar Navy vessel.
Myanmar navy personnel seized the belongings of the fishermen and released them after four hours.
Ahsan demanded appropriate investigation into the matter, bring those responsible to justice, and sought assurance that the Myanmar Navy would abstain from attacking innocent fishermen of Bangladesh in future.