Thousands of Rohingya stranded in no man’s land » Manila Bulletin News

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By Agence France Presse

For three weeks Dil Mohammad and his family have been stranded on a thin sliver of land between Bangladesh and their native Myanmar with thousands of other Rohingya, after running for their lives when their village was torched.

More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have now arrived in southern Bangladesh seeking sanctuary from violence that the United Nations says likely amounts to ethnic cleansing. (AFP photo)

More than 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have now arrived in southern Bangladesh seeking sanctuary from violence that the United Nations says likely amounts to ethnic cleansing.

But unlike those arriving now, thousands of Rohingya who fled in the early days of the crisis that erupted last month were initially blocked from entering Bangladesh.

Too afraid to go back to Myanmar, they set up camp in a small area of no man’s land where they have been ever since, waiting for the world to force the country they consider home to take them back.

“We have no intention of going to Bangladesh. We want to go back to our native land,” Mohammad told AFP in the camp, waving an arm towards the lush green hills that separate the two countries.

“Myanmar is my home, my family has been there for generations.”

The 51-year-old rice farmer said 150 families from his village of Mae Di in Rakhine state were now living in the makeshift settlement after fleeing an attack by the Myanmar army and Rakhine Buddhists.

His adult son, who was shot as they fled, is being treated in Bangladesh.

But although the Rohingya are now being freely admitted to Bangladesh, Mohammad does not intend to join him.

He and the thousands of others living in the camp, which lies just a few hundred metres from a barbed wire fence that marks Myanmar territory, have regular food deliveries and access to clean water, medicines and even a rudimentary washing area



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