International desk – The United Nations has estimated that more than 10,000 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh in the last couple of weeks to flee sectarian violence in neighbourning Myanmar.
According to a statement by the UN refugee agency, the minority Muslims in Rakhine state of Myanmar crossed the border after violence escalated in the past two months.
“Based on reports by various humanitarian agencies, we estimate that there could be 10,000 new arrivals in recent weeks,” Vivian Tan, a spokeswoman in for the U.N. refugee agency’s office in Bangkok, said Wednesday.
“The situation is fast changing and the actual number could be much higher,” added the spokesman.
Bangladesh said they were now allowing Rohingya Muslims refugees into the country on a humanitarian basis. But the persecuted Muslims, including women and children, slipped through the porous border despite a strong vigilance by the border guards.
Earlier, officials had stated that they were sealing the southeastern border with Myanmar and pushing back hundreds of people trying to cross over, after the military crackdown on the minority group in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
The exodus into Bangladesh from Rakhine is the largest since 2012, when thousands from Myanmar’s Rohingya minority escaped violence in the state between Muslims and members of the country’s Buddhist majority.
More than 100 Rohingya Muslims were reportedly killed in the Myanmar’s counter-insurgency sweeps.
Bangladesh is burdened with nearly 29,000 Rohingya who have been documented as refugees, have been living in two squalid camps in Cox’s Bazar since the 1990s after they were driven out of Myanmar.
The number of undocumented Rohingya living in Bangladesh is estimated to be between 200,000 and 500,000.