Bangladesh 'to be tougher' on Rohingya refugees

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A refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, BangladeshImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Hundreds of thousands of mainly Muslim refugees are living in camps in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has said it will harden its stance towards Rohingya refugees currently in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people, mainly Muslims, are living in refugee camps after fleeing violent persecution in neighbouring Myanmar.

Foreign Minister Abdul Momen told the BBC that Bangladesh was unable to keep bearing the economic burden but did not say exactly how policy would change.

On Thursday, officials arranged for buses to start repatriating refugees.

However, the scheme failed as it depended on people returning to Myanmar voluntarily. When it was time for the buses to leave, not a single person turned up.

Mr Momen accused some non-government groups of persuading refugees not to leave.

More than 740,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in August 2017, after a military offensive against the Muslim minority there.

UN investigators have said the violence would justify the prosecution of top generals in Myanmar for "genocide".

Myanmar continues to deny its troops carried out ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Abdul Momen, pictured earlier this year, said the government would toughen its stance

Mr Momen's comments came as two Rohingya men were shot dead by police during a gunfight at a refugee camp in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar district.

Officials told AFP news agency that the two refugees were accused of killing Omar Faruk, an official from the ruling Awami League party, on Thursday.

"Both men died as they were rushed to a hospital" from Jadimura refugee camp, local police inspector Rasel Ahmad said.

Media caption,

Myanmar Muslims: "We're citizens too"