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Rohingya refugees relocated to controversial Bangladesh island after weeks at sea

Rohingya refugees relocated to controversial Bangladesh island after weeks at sea

AFP
Dhaka
Dozens of Rohingya refugees stranded at sea for weeks have been relocated to a controversial flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh officials said on Sunday.
Bangladesh last year constructed facilities for 100,000 people on Bhashan Char, a muddy silt islet in the cyclone-prone coastal belt, saying they needed to take pressure off crowded border camps that are home to almost one million Rohingya.
The 28 Rohingya were taken to the island late Saturday instead of the camps as authorities were afraid they might be infected with the coronavirus, Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen told AFP.
“Most likely they will stay there until they return to Myanmar.” They are the first group of Rohingya to be sent to the island, local government administrator Tanmoy Das told AFP, adding they were being looked after by navy personnel who had built the facilities.
Officials said the group -- including 15 women and five children -- were detained after coming ashore on Saturday from one of two boats suck at sea while trying to reach Malaysia.
Some 250 other refugees who also left the boat in six or seven dinghies have not been found, he added. The UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Sunday that comprehensive assessments were needed before anyone is moved to the island, spokeswoman Louise Donovan told AFP.

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