Police on Wednesday morning recovered bodies of six Rohingya refugees who drowned in the Naf River estuary while trying to flee by boat the violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
The remains of two women were found at Nazir Para and four children at Shah Porir Dwip, said Teknaf Model police station OC Main Uddin Khan.
He said that several overloaded boats of Rohingya refugees had capsized in the river in the past three weeks. “So far, we’ve recovered a total 98 bodies, most of them women and children.”
However, our correspondent Manik Miazee found a refugee who survived one of these capsizes and now is with his family in Teknaf. He told the Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday that not all boats were capsizing because they were overloaded with refugees.
Bhutto, who hails from Hararipara village in Rakhine’s Maungdaw, says rogue Rohingya robbers were responsible for the drowning of the boat he was in that took the lives of a number of children.
Why Bhutto’s boat went down
On Monday night, only 16 people survived after a boat carrying over 50 refugees capsized in Teknaf’s Khalpar area on the Naf River.
Bhutto was one of the passengers who barely escaped death.
The 45-year-old said seven of his family members entered Bangladesh earlier that day after crossing the Naf. But he could not make the journey as the boat was already overloaded.
Later, his journey started around 8pm after he paid 310,000 kyat (Myanmar's currency) to Siraj Uddin, son of listed yaba trader in Teknaf Abu Taher. Siraj also took money from many more after promising them to help cross over, Bhutto said.
“I was with 26 other men and a lot of children. I don’t know how many.”
He said: “Near Khalpara, a gang of Rohingya robbers on another boat suddenly attacked ours around 8:45pm. They took whatever we had, beat us and threw many overboard while others and I tried to fight back.
“But we got thrown overboard too. When everyone tried to get back on the boat, it overturned and capsized with the rest of the passengers.”
Bhutto said the robbers did not even care to save the children who were drowning. “Another refugee boat could rescue only 16 of us.”
The second boat reached Teknaf’s Sabrang area around 10pm on Monday.
Teknaf police said they did not receive any information about such incident.