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Trapped Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar get first substantial food aid in months

Trapped Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar get first substantial food aid in months
From Reuters - October 11, 2017

YANGON (Reuters) - Rohingya Muslim villagers cut off from food and threatened by Buddhist neighbors in Myanmars violence-racked Rakhine state received their first substantial food supplies in months on Wednesday after international pressure on the government to help.

Diplomats and aid groups called on the government to step in after Reuters exclusively reported the dire situation faced by thousands of Rohingya Muslims trapped in the villages of Ah Nauk Pyin and Nyaung Pin Gyi last month.

A boat arrived yesterday evening with rice bags and six Red Cross staff came to our village this morning, Maung Maung, an administrator in the riverside Rohingya village of Ah Nauk Pyin, told Reuters by telephone.

He said it was the first time in three months that significant supplies of food had been delivered to the village.

The aid arrived just as were starving, he said.

Fragile relations between the Rohingya villagers and their ethnic Rakhine Buddhist neighbors were shattered on Aug. 25, when deadly attacks by Rohingya militants prompted a ferocious response from Myanmars security forces.

Rights groups say ethnic Rakhine Buddhists have joined in attacks on Rohingya, and the residents of Ah Nauk Pyin told Reuters in mid-September they had been threatened by Buddhists and they had pleaded with authorities for safe passage out.

The state government told them to stay put.

More than half a million Rohingya villagers have fled to Bangladesh to escape what the United Nations has called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing aimed at pushing the Rohingya out of the country for good.

Myanmar dismisses that. It says it is fighting a legitimate campaign against Rohingya terrorists.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya remain in Rakhine, many in fear of their security and facing growing hunger as food supplies dwindle, partly because of restrictions on the trade and movement of rice.

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