Bangladesh: 22 Rohingya detained before trafficked

Bangladesh police detained some 22 Muslim Rohingya refugees as they were gathered to be trafficked to Malaysia through Bay of Bengal, a police officer told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.

In a tip off, police in a drive, detained 18 Rohingya women, three men and one child who gathered at the coast area of Bahar Chara village in Teknaf of Cox’s Bazar Monday night to be trafficked to Malaysia illegally through Bay Bengal, Liakat Ali, the police inspector at Bahar Chara police outpost told Anadolu Agency.

Police, however, could not arrest any broker in the incident, he said, adding that they will send back the detained Rohingya refugees to their respective refugee camps on Tuesday.

Some 796 Rohingya were detained in 28 law enforcement drives in Bangladesh last year, while 29 brokers were arrested, according to the local daily Prothom Alo.

Of these drives, at least seven human traffickers were killed in alleged gunfights with law enforcement officers, and three of them were Rohingya, while the other four were Bangladeshi, it added.

Rohingya, described by the UN as one of the most persecuted community in the world, has been facing systematic state persecution in the northern Rakhine state of Myanmar since early 1970s.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience”.

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

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