Rohingya Muslims desperate to cross into Bangladesh after Rakhine violence

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The Advisory titled "Identification of illegal migrants and monitoring thereof" was issued on August 8 which emphasises the detection and deportation of illegal migrants from Rakhine State i.e. Rohingyas.

Mohammed Shafi, who lives in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh, said his cousin in Myanmar had told him by telephone "the military is everywhere".

Thousands of Rohingyas are left stranded in the middle of nowhere as they make desperate attempts to enter Bangladesh in a bid to flee persecution in their homeland in Myanmar.

The Pope's appeal Sunday comes as the number of new deaths continues to rise amid renewed clashes between the Rohingya and the Myanmar army, which sprung up Friday on the outskirts of the large city of Maungdaw. Bangladeshi villagers said they could see military helicopters hovering in the Myanmar sky.

This photo, taken on December 25, 2016, shows Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar who tried to cross the Naf River into Bangladesh.

On Friday, the State Counselor Office's Information Committee said at least 20 outposts and an army base were targeted.

The police said some refugees might have entered Bangladesh through the Ghumdum border area.

Almost 2,000 people have reached Bangladesh since Friday when Rohingya insurgents ambushed more than 20 police posts in Rakhine. "All the villagers become insurgents, what they're doing is like a revolution", said the source in Rakhine.

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While the chaos and lack of access made detailed assessments hard, experts said the latest attacks were so widespread, they appeared to be more akin to a movement or an uprising, rather than an insurgent offensive.

Thousands of Rohingya have fled towards Bangladesh, but authorities there have refused to let a lot of them in, with an untold number of people - mainly women and children -stranded along the border zone.

Burma is overwhelmingly Buddhist, but about one million Muslim Rohingya live in the northern part of Rakhine state, where the violence is taking place.

"They came with rods and sticks to drive us to the border yelling, "Bengali bastards", Zafar told AFP.

The Rohingya have for years endured apartheid-like conditions in northwestern Myanmar - they are denied citizenship and face severe restrictions on their movements. Many Myanmar Buddhists regard them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

At least 71 people, including 12 security personnel, died in the attacks that began on Friday.

The government has denied numerous allegations leveled against the military - including those of human rights abuses - and says it's investigating others. They do not find mention in that country's official listing of 135 ethnic communities, and are thus not recognised as citizens by Myanmar.

It has declared the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which instigated the October attacks and claimed responsibility for the latest offensive, a terrorist organisation in the wake of the attacks.

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