Bangladesh began relocating several hundred Rohingyas to Bhashan Char on Thursday amid concerns raised by rights groups and the United Nations.
According to sources, more than 300 Rohingyas, escorted by law enforcers, in 10 buses were transferred today in first phase. Later in second phase, 10 other buses carried more Rohingyas to the island.
However, the exact number of dislocated Rohingyas was not disclosed by any official yet.
Their bus journey began around 11:30 am on Thursday from the Degree College in Ukhiya upazila of Cox's Bazar. First they were taken to Chittagong port and then on to Bhasan Char – a remote flood-prone Bay of Bengal island, measuring 13,000 acres, that emerged from the sea some 20 years ago.
Bangladesh Navy had built shelters there for at least 100,000 Rohingyas as well as a three-metre embankment to prevent flooding.
The United Nations office in Bangladesh issued a brief statement on Thursday saying it was ‘not involved’ in the relocation process and had been given ‘limited information’.
Almost a million Rohingyas have been sheltered in various makeshift camps in the south-eastern districts of Bangladesh. Most of them fled to Bangladesh following a military offensive in neighbouring Myanmar in 2017.
BDST: 1646 HRS, DEC 03, 2020