Rohingya refugees saved after trying to cross river using jerrycans

Rohingya refugees saved after trying to cross river using jerrycans to float

Thousands of Rohingya people have travelled to Bangladesh (Stock image)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A group of Rohingya Muslim refugees have been rescued from a river after trying to travel to Bangladesh using jerrycans to float.

The 11 refugees were found and saved by Bangladeshi coast guards today (October 11), as they were attempting to escape the violence in Myanmar, according to officials.

A border guard named as Abdul Jalil told AFP the refugees had been waiting for a boat to take them across the Naf River, which acts as a de facto border between Bangladesh and Myanmar's Rakhine state, where the Rohingya are concentrated.

However no boats arrived for several days so the group decided to attempt to swim the 1.25-mile crossing. They hoped to hire boats from Bangladesh to pick up their families from Myanmar once they arrived, France 24 reported.

The violence against the Muslim minority in Rakhine has been dubbed ethnic cleansing by the United Nations, and Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been criticised for not doing more to prevent it.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have managed to get into Bangladesh since mid-August. Almost 160 people have died whilst attempting to swim across the Naf River, but some have managed to complete the crossing successfully.

In an attempt to slow the influx of refugees, Bangladeshi authorities have destroyed fishing boats and jailed their captains, but many continue to undertake the crossing.