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Some refugees start to return home: Burmese gov’t

Some 981 people, made refugees by the sectarian violence that has swept over Rakhine State for more than three weeks, have begun to return to their villages in Maungtaw Township, state-run media said on Friday.

Refugees from Burma   Photo: UNHCRThe refugees represented 213 households who had been living in the Maungtaw 4th-mile Rescue Camp, said The New Light of Myanmar.

According to a latest official government figures, a total of 62 people were killed in the rioting from May 28 to June 21. Other sources said this week that the number might be closer to 80 persons.

Meanwhile, relief aid is beginning to reach other rescue camps in the traumatized state, officials said.

Since May 28, up to 40 refugee camps have been opened, according to the United Nations.

Certain areas have been placed under emergency rule and a curfew has existed in six townships including Maungtaw and Sittway, the capital of the state, since June 10.

The death toll included a dozen more people who were killed in the latest rioting that occurred in Yadae Taung Township during the period from June 14 to 21, the article said. Other reports on Friday said the government has arrested 60 people in that massacre.

A series of bloody incidents have unfolded in the state since May 28, when a Rakhine woman was raped and murdered by three Rohingya men. Two of the men were convicted and sentenced to death this week, and a third man committed suicide while being held by the authorities.

During the rioting, 2,230 residential homes and businesses were burned by rioters, according to earlier reports.

On Monday, Mizzima reported that many people in Rakhine State are now unable to receive adequate health care, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has been forced to suspend its operations in areas of the state.

“MSF is extremely worried that victims of the clashes are not receiving emergency care, and about the ongoing healthcare needs of our patients,” said Joe Belliveau, MSF operations manager. “Our immediate concerns are to provide emergency medical services, get food and supplies to people, and get our HIV patients their lifesaving treatment.”

In their effort to find a safe haven from the threat of continued violence, people are trying to flee to southern Bangladesh. MSF said it was concerned that the Bangladesh government has denied access to people attempting to flee the violence and to seek healthcare across the border.

“People seeking refuge and in need of food, water and medical care should be allowed to cross the border,” said Belliveau.  “In both Myanmar and Bangladesh, MSF is trying to reach those affected by the violence, but they should also be allowed to reach us.”
Last Updated ( Friday, 22 June 2012 15:21 )  

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