21,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh from Myanmar: IOM

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SHAFAQNA – Around 21,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks to escape violence in neighboring Myanmar, an official of the International Organization for Migration said Tuesday.

Bangladesh has stepped up patrols on the border trying to stem the tide of refugees who have been fleeing a bloody crackdown by Myanmar’s army in the western state of Rakhine since early October.

But Sanjukta Sahany, head of the IOM office in Bangladesh’s southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar which borders Rakhine, said around 21,000 members of the stateless ethnic minority had crossed over in the past two months.

The vast majority of those who arrived took refuge in makeshift settlements, official refugee camps and villages, said Sahany.

“An estimated 21,000 Rohingya have arrived in Cox’s Bazar district between October 9 and December 2,” she told AFP by phone.

“It is based on the figures collected by UN agencies and international NGOs” (non-governmental organizations).

Those interviewed by AFP inside Bangladesh had horrifying stories of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar’s security forces.

Analysis of satellite images by Human Rights Watch found hundreds of buildings in Rohingya villages have been razed.

Myanmar has denied allegations of abuse but also has banned foreign journalists and independent investigators from accessing the area.

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