A boat packed with 100 refugees fleeing Myanmar capsized on its way to Bangladesh. Rescue crews worked through the night to find dozens of children who were missing. A number of deaths have been reported.
The boat was carrying about 100 people when it sank at the mouth of the Naf River that marks Myanmar's border with Bangladesh, officials said late Sunday.
A border guard official said several people had been pulled alive from the water and the search was continuing into Monday morning for an unknown number of others still believed to be missing.
Later, an official with the Bangladesh border guard said 12 bodies had been recovered after an all-night rescue operation. Abdul Jalil told AFP "they include 10 children, an elderly woman and a man."
The boat was believed to be carrying Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar's restive Rakhine state.
More than half a million refugees
The security situation in Rakhine state deteriorated in August after Rohingya militant raids on Myanmar police posts prompted a brutal military crackdown. Since then, more than 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the western region for Bangladesh, many by boat across the Naf River.Around 150 have died, many of them children, while trying to make the crossing.
The United Nations has said the military campaign against the Rohingya could amount to "ethnic cleansing." Myanmar's government rejects the allegations and has blamed the unrest on Rohingya militants.
Myanmar, a mostly Buddhist nation, does not recognize Rohingya Muslims as citizens but considers them illegal migrants from Bangladesh.
The overturned vessel is the latest of a series of deadly shipwrecks involving Rohingya refugees. On September 28, more than 20 Rohingya were killed after a boat carrying about 80 refugees overturned. At least 46 bodies were recovered after another sinking on September 6.
nm/jm (AFP, Reuters)