About 600 Rohingya have fled Bhasan Char island recently as life on isolated island is difficult, says official
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Police in Bangladesh detained 24 more Rohingya refugees fleeing the remote island of Bhasan Char, where the country has relocated some 20,000 refugees despite opposition from UN agencies and rights groups.
Bangladesh is hosting around 1.2 million Rohingya in refugee camps in the southern district of Cox’s Bazar who fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State after a brutal military crackdown in August 2017.
Citing overcrowding at the Cox’s Bazar camps, Bangladesh started relocating 100,000 Rohingya refugees to the Bhasan Char island in the Bay of Bengal last December.
“We detained 24 Rohingya refugees attempting to flee Bhasan Char to Chattogram through the Sandip area. After primary interrogation, we handed over the refugees to local refugee officials to send them back to the camp,” Md. Shahidul Islam, police chief of Noakhali district, told Anadolu Agency.
“Life on the remote island is difficult. Refugees often flee the island to meet their family members and relatives staying at the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps,” he said.
According to official records, about 300 refugees have tried flee from Bhasan Char, while some 500 to 600 Rohingya have managed to escape, the official added.
Earlier this week, police caught 35 Rohingya refugees attempting to flee the island, which is located 50 kilometers (31 miles) off the country’s southwestern coast and nearly 193 kilometers (120 miles) south of the capital Dhaka.
The government has constructed 1,400 big cluster houses four feet above the ground with concrete blocks and 120 multistoried cyclone shelters on the island. Each cluster house is made up of 16 rooms.