Rohingyas flee through fields into Bangladesh

World Today

A Rohingya man carrying his son and belongings walks through a broken road after crossing the Bangladeshi border at Shah Porir Deep, in Teknak, Bangladesh, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. Three boats carrying ethnic Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar have capsized in Bangladesh and 26 bodies of women and children have been recovered, officials said Thursday. Last week, a group of ethnic minority Rohingya insurgents attacked at least two dozen police posts in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, triggering fighting with security forces that left more than 100 people dead and forced at least 18,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Suvra Kanti Das)

Tens of thousands of members of the Rohingya ethnic minority continued fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh on Friday.

Bangladeshi border guards have tried to keep them out, but thousands could be seen making their way across muddy rice fields.

Young people were seen helping carry the elderly, some on makeshift stretchers, and children carried newborns.

Myanmar’s military said almost 400 people have died in violence in the western state of Rakhine triggered by attacks on security forces by insurgents from the Rohingya ethnic minority.

The numbers, posted Friday on the Facebook page of the country’s military commander, are a sharp increase over the previously reported toll of just over 100.

The statement said all but 29 of the 399 dead were insurgents, whom it described as terrorists.

Advocates for the Rohingya, an oppressed Muslim minority in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar, say hundreds of Rohingya civilians have been killed by security forces.

Most of Myanmar’s estimated 1 million Rohingya live in northern Rakhine state.

They face severe persecution, with the government refusing to recognize them as a legitimate native ethnic minority, leaving them without citizenship and basic rights.

Longstanding tension between the Rohingya Muslims and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012.

Story by the Associated Press