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December, 4, 2016

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Rohingya fleeing Myanmar turned back by Bangladesh

DHAKA--Multiple boats packed with Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar were turned back by Bangladesh border guards Monday, despite appeals by the country's opposition to provide shelter to the persecuted Muslim minority.

Thousands of desperate Rohingya from Myanmar's western Rakhine state have flooded over the border into Bangladesh in the last week, bringing with them horrifying claims of gang rape, torture and murder at the hands of Myanmar's security forces.

Eight boats attempting to cross the Naf River separating Rakhine from southern Bangladesh were pushed back on Monday after six were refused entry on Sunday, head of the board guards in the Bangladeshi frontier town of Teknaf, Colonel Abuzar Al Zahid, told AFP.

"There were 12 to 13 Rohingya in each of the boats," Zahid said.

Dhaka says thousands more are massed on the border, but has refused urgent international appeals to let them in, instead calling on Myanmar to do more to stop people fleeing.

In the past two weeks, Bangladeshi border guards have prevented more than 1,000 Rohingya, including many women and children, from entering the country by boat, officials told AFP.

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