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Rohingya widows find safe haven in Bangladesh camp

Rohingya widows find safe haven in Bangladesh camp
From Reuters - December 7, 2017

COXS BAZAR (Reuters) - Dawn hues of pink and purple reveal a dusty valley in Bangladeshs southern hills quilted with a dense settlement of red tents home to more than 230 women and children grieving for lost husbands and fathers.

They are among more than 625,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh since late August, following a crackdown by the Myanmar military in response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants.

Roshid Jan, who walked for 10 days with her five children to Bangladesh after soldiers burned their village, wept when she spoke about her missing husband.

He was accused of being a member of the Rohingya militants and arrested with four other villagers 11 months ago, she said.

She had not seen him or heard about his fate since then.

Aisha Begum, a 19-year-old widow, said her husband was killed by Myanmar soldiers as their band of refugees headed for Bangladesh.

I was sitting there by his body and just crying, crying, crying, she said.

He was caught and killed with knives. I found his body by the road. It was in three pieces, she cried, recounting the events that brought her to the camp.

(Click reut.rs/2BHPPax for a photo essay)

Most Rohingya are stateless and seen as illegal immigrants by Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

The United Nations and United States have described the militarys actions as ethnic cleansing, and rights groups have accused the security forces of atrocities, including rape, arson and killings.

Myanmars government has denied most of the claims, and the army has said its own probe found no evidence of wrongdoing by troops.

There are 50 tents and no men in the camp for widows and orphans, the biggest of three sites built with donor funds from Muslim-majority Pakistan in the refugee settlement of Balukhali not far from Bangladeshs resort town of Coxs Bazar.

Two makeshift kitchens provide space for cooking in small holes in the ground, a new well is being dug to supplement a water pump, and a big tent serves for prayers.

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