100,000 more Rohingya wait to cross border into Bangladesh


An estimated 100,000 more Rohingya Muslims have been waiting on the border to cross into Bangladesh after more than half a million others fled unrest in Myanmar's Rakhine state, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said on Sunday.

"Observers believe that as many as 100,000 more people may be waiting to cross into Cox's Bazar (in south-eastern Bangladesh) from North Rakhine's Buthidaung Township (in Myanmar)," the migration agency said in a statement.

The agency estimated 515,000 Rohingya Muslims entered Bangladesh after the Myanmar army launched an anti-insurgency crackdown slightly over six weeks ago in troubled Rakhine state.

An average 2,000 people, persecuted allegedly by the Myanmar army, are crossing the border every day to safety as Bangladesh keeps its border open on humanitarian grounds.

"They arrive exhausted, hungry and usually with nothing more than the clothes on their back, having walked for days and then braved a dangerous river or sea crossing. Many show signs of malnutrition," the IOM statement said.

A senior Bangladeshi minister said on Sunday the government would allow more Rohingya to cross the border on humanitarian grounds.

"We will not close our door forcibly without the consent of the United Nations and other international communities," Obaidul Quader, who is also the second in command in the ruling Awami League party, told reporters in Dhaka.

Bangladesh and Myanmar have begun bilateral talks for repatriation of the Rohingya, the Muslim minority group driven away from their homes in Buddhist majority Myanmar.    (dpa)

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