COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh security forces on Thursday detained more Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in western Burma and were questioning them before sending them back, a border official said Thursday.
Bangladesh has turned back more than 2,000 Rohingyas who tried to enter the country after the deadly violence between Rohingyas and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted this month.
The 16 new arrivals are men between ages 20 and 30, said Lt. Col. Zahid Hasan, a commander of Bangladesh’s border troops. Hasan said they will be provided food and medicine for their journey, but did not say when.
Human rights groups have urged Bangladesh to accept the refugees. Dhaka says its resources are too strained.
“We are too scared to stay in Burma,” one of the detainees, Aminul Islam, told reporters. “Even the army in Burma is harassing us.”
The unrest stems from longstanding tensions but was triggeredd by the rape and murder last month of a Buddhist woman and the June 3 lynching of 10 Muslims in apparent retaliation. Two Muslims were convicted this week and sentenced to death for killing the woman.
Burma state media reported about 50 deaths through the weekend, and additional violence Tuesday was reported.
Burma considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship. Bangladesh says Rohingyas have been living in Burma for centuries and should be recognized there as citizens.