Dhaka – Rescuers retrieved 11 bodies after a boat carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized in Naf river on Monday, police said.
The boat sank near Shah Porir Dwip, the southern-most tip of Bangladesh, at around 3.30 am as the persecuted Rohingya Muslims attempting to cross the river into Bangladesh for safety, officer Saidur Rahman said.
Bangladeshi coastguards along with local residents found bodies of four children and four women from the river that separated Bangladesh from Myanmar in the morning.
The rescuers pulled three more bodies off the river as the coastguards and other agencies launched a search operation to find the missing passengers of the engine-propelled boat.
The coastguard rescued 21 people from the river and helped them come ashore immediately after the mishap. Many others are believed to have gone missing, the officer said.
Those who were rescued will be sent to Kutupalong Rohingya camp after treatment.
Nurul Alam, an official at local government department, said the survivors informed that the boat was carrying at least 65 passengers when it sank.
An estimated 537,000 Rohingya Muslims have entered Bangladesh since the Myanmar army launched an anti-insurgency crackdown just over seven weeks ago in Rakhine state, according to International Migration Agency.
Nearly 180 Rohingya have drowned while trying to cross the border over the Naf river since the violence began on August 25.
The influx of Rohingya continues as civilians who crossed the border say Burmese military and radical Buddhist vigilantes killed many Muslims and burnt their homes down. They said they were forced to leave their homed in Rakhine.
Media report said that more than 10,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh through Anjumpara border posts areas on Monday. Those who crossed the border told private broadcaster Channel 24 that they were brutalised and their homed were torched by the Myanmar army.