All Rohingya to be shifted to mega refugee camp

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An estimated 515,000 Rohingya Muslims crossed the border into Bangladesh's south-eastern Cox's Bazar district after Burmese military launched a crackdown on suspected Muslim insurgents in Rakhine on August 25.

But a post on the page of the office of army chief Min Aung Hlaing said blazes at seven houses in a Rohingya village early Wednesday were started by an "Einu" or a militant from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

"The humanitarian pause was conducted in order to enable humanitarian actors to assess and respond to the humanitarian crisis in (Rakhine)", it said. Asked for comments, a government spokesperson said: "We have no policy to negotiate with terrorists".

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Saturday that her government would continue to support almost 1 million Rohingya Muslims who have fled neighboring Myanmar to escape violence.

The first official talks between the countries since the latest exodus, which the United Nations dubs as the "world's fastest-developing refugee crisis", was held on Oct 2 when Myanmar's Minister for the Office of the State Counsellor Kyaw Tint Swe came to Dhaka. This week Bangladesh reported 4-5,000 civilians crossing the border each day after a brief lull in arrivals, with 10,000 more waiting at a frontier area.

During the first few days of the latest influx, Bangladesh kept its border closed but later chose to open it up to Rohingyas.


Bloody riots in 2012 forced over 100,000 Rohingya to flee to refugee camps in southeast Bangladesh, where many still live.

The Rohingya, a stateless mostly Muslim ethnic minority, have long faced persecution in Rakhine in northern Myanmar (Burma). And given how vulnerable the Rohingya, who have managed to take refuge in our land, are, ruling out such a possibility might be disastrous.

Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship, describing them as "Bengali" interlopers.

Ms Hasina's assurances on Saturday came as a top United Nations official said that Bangladesh's plan to build the world's biggest refugee camp for 800,000-plus Rohingya was unsafe because overcrowding could heighten the risks of deadly diseases spreading quickly.

Watkins said there would be a huge risk of fire spreading easily across a big camp of refugees, adding that Bangladesh should instead look for new sites to build more camps.

She added she was pursuing a plan to build temporary shelters for the Rohingya on an island with the help of worldwide aid agencies whom she praised for their support.

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