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Myanmar minister orders Rohingya to leave no man’s land

Published : Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 270

DHAKA, Feb 12 : A Myanmar government minister has told Rohingya refugees living in a makeshift camp on the Bangladesh border they should take up a government offer to return, warning they will face "consequences" if they stay where they are.
A video circulated on social media apparently shows Myanmar's Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Aung Soe addressing a group of refugees through a barbed wire fence last Friday.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have sought sanctuary in Bangladesh since a military crackdown on the Muslim minority in Myanmar last year forced them from their homes.
Despite the campaign, which the United Nations has said amounts to ethnic cleansing, the two governments agreed late last year to repatriate all the newly-arrived refugees.
But many say they do not want to return until Myanmar agrees to give them citizenship and guarantees their safety.
Myanmar regards the Rohingya as immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship, even though they have been there for generations.
The minister's message was directed at around 6,000 refugees living in Tombru, an area of no man's land between Myanmar and Bangladesh.
In it, he tells them they must return or "suffer the consequences", and that the area they were living in was under Myanmar's jurisdiction.
"If the Rohingya refuse the proposal put forward by the Myanmar government through this delegation, it will not bode well for the Rohingya living in no man's land," said the minister through a translator.
Bangladesh security forces in the area confirmed the minister's visit to AFP.
"He kept telling the refugees to move away from Myanmar land, or they would face problems," said police officer Mohammad Rashid by phone from the area.    AFP

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