Dhaka – Bangladeshi border guards on Friday returned a boatload of 146 Rohingya Muslims trying to cross into Bangladesh after ethnic violence killed more than 30 people in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, officials said.
Local commanding officer of Border Guard Bangladesh at Teknaf Ariful Islam said that the forces prevented the boat in the morning on the Naf river that separated Bangladesh and Myanmar.
“The people on the boat were pushed back,” the officer said adding that the forces were alerted to thwart any attempt of intrusion using the river route.
Teknaf is located 374 kilometers south-east of the capital Dhaka.
Myanmar officials say that at least 31 people had been killed in attacks on police posts in the western state of Rakhine.
The security forces said that at least 21 Rohingya Muslims and 11 policemen were killed in attacks and counter attacks overnight on Thursday.
Military in the restive state of Rakhine is accused of committing atrocities against the persecuted Rohingya Muslim community for years. At least 75,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed into Bangladesh after the Burmese army launched a so-called anti-insurgency crackdown in the state after nine policemen were killed in an ambush attack allegedly by the Rohingya insurgents.
The government in a statement said Friday that the militants staged coordinated attacks on at least 24 police posts, while some 150 men were also attempting to break into a military base.
“The extremist Bengali insurgents attacked a police station in Maungdaw region in northern Rakhine state with a handmade bomb explosive,” said the statement.
The Rohingyas fled into Bangladesh after crossing the Naf river through Palongkhali of Ukhia upazila, Ulubunia, Lombhabil and Kharengabhona of Teknaf upazila due to the nightlong clashes in Myanmar, said an officer.
Bangladesh has been hosting more than 400,000 Rohingya, the most persecuted ethic minority groups in the world, as Myanmar refused to recognize them as its citizen.
The Myanmar government has been trying to identify the Rohingya as migrants from Bangladesh since they are Muslim. But they have been living in the Rakhine state well before Myanmar was independent in July 1947.