Rohingya tell of fleeing Myanmar for lives, UN says 3,000 left

People fleeing from a conflict area in Myanmar's Rakhine state

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh told Monday how they fled for their lives from Myanmar's army as the UN refugee agency said more than 3,000 had arrived in the past three days. The influx follows a fresh outbreak of fighting between Rohingya militants and Myanmar troops in Rakhine state, which borders Bangladesh. Bangladesh has said there are thousands more Rohingya massed on its border with Myanmar, where the stateless minority face persecution. Dhaka has responded by stepping up border controls and pushing back hundreds of Rohingya who try to enter, although some have still managed to evade the guards. Those who have got through took refuge in the mostly makeshift camps in the coastal town of Cox's Bazar, where some 400,000 Rohingya are already living after fleeing previous bouts of violence in Rakhine. Sona Mia said at least 800 had arrived at his Balukhali camp since Friday. "Police said we can't let them stay or else we would be deported. We helped them enter through several points but are sending them to Kutupalong," said Mia, referring to another camp. Authorities at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital said they were treating 17 Rohingya. One had died of gunshot wounds on Saturday. Mohammad Ziabul, a 27-year-old farmer, fled for his life after Myanmar troops shot and killed his brother. "We started running for cover when Myanmar army started firing indiscriminately on Friday," he said. "Two bullets hit my body -– one at my left hand and the other one at my head. I fell on the ground. My elder brother Dil Mahmud who was also hit by bullet, died on the spot." He said around 1,000 Rohingya had fled his village alone to hide out in the forest. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said many of the new arrivals are women and children. "UNHCR and other UN Agency teams in registered camps estimated that more than 3,000 'newly arrived' individuals were seen in and around the camp," said UNHCR spokesman Joseph Tripura. "Many of the new arrivals are women and children including some un-accompanied and/or separated children." Abdur Rashid, another Rohingya farmer, described walking miles with his 10-year-old son to hospital in Bangladesh after the child was hit by a bullet in Myanmar. "I left my five other children and my wife in Myanmar. I don’t know what happened to them," he said.