Dhaka – Sixty-three people have been feared dead after a boat carrying Rohingya Muslims sank the Bay of Bengal as they were crossing into Bangladesh fleeing violence in Myanmar, International Organization for Migration said in Friday.
The boat overturned in the rough sea on Thursday afternoon as it came close to the shore near Inani point of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.
Local residents and rescuers from different public agencies pulled 23 bodies, mostly women and children, in the last two days. Forty others have gone missing and the rescuers believe they are dead, the IOM said.
The boat carrying at least 80 passengers started the journey from Buchidong of Rakhine state toward Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar for safety, according to survivors.
IOM has been working to address the needs of the survivors. Seventeen people were rescued immediately after the boat sank.
An estimated 518,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh since late August, when security forces of the Buddhist-majority country launched a sweeping operation in Rakhine in response to attacks by suspected Rohingya militants.
Civilians those crossed the border said the army and Buddhist vigilantes killed the Muslims and torched their homes to drive them away from Rakhine.
More than 100 others drowned in the Naf, a border river, as the minority group tried to cross it to reach Bangladesh since the ethnic violence began on August 25.