Two die, scores missing as Rohingya boat capsizes


Rescue operation under way after boat overcrowded with people fleeing Myanmar violence sinks on its way to Bangladesh.

At least two people have died and scores are missing, including many children, after a boat packed with Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar capsized on its way to Bangladesh, according to officials.

Coastguard and border guard officials on Sunday said the boat was overloaded with about 100 people when it sank in the mouth of the Naf river that divides the two South Asian neighbouring countries.

More than half a million Rohingya have emptied out of northern Rakhine and into Bangladesh since August 25, carrying stories of mass killings, gang rapes, and razing of whole villages.

Myanmar has denied allegations of ethnic cleansing, saying the military offensive was a “clearance operation” to flush out Rohingya fighters who had staged attacks on border posts in August.

Lieutenant Colonel Ariful Islam, the local commander of Border Guard Bangladesh, confirmed to Reuters news agency via SMS that the bodies of a boy and an elderly woman had been recovered in the water, but put the figure of those rescued at eight.

Sunday’s incident is the latest of a series of deadly boat disasters involving Rohingya refugees.

Most recently, on September 28, a boat carrying about 80 refugees overturned. Seventeen survived, while 23 were confirmed dead and the remainder declared missing.

Myanmar considers the Rohingya illegal immigrants from Bangladesh despite the ethnic minority living there for generations.

Source: International News agencies