Bangkok, Nov 1 (IANS) Myanmar has accused Bangladesh of delaying the repatriation of refugees to its territory due to the millions of dollars of aid it is receiving to build refugee camps, official media reported on Wednesday.
Around 600,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority and thousands belonging to other minorities have fled Rakhine state in Myanmar and entered Bangladesh in the last few months following a wave of violence, reports Efe news.
“On our side, we have been ready to accept (the refugees) anytime,” U Zaw Htay, the spokesperson for Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, said during a visit to Rakhine state, the official daily Global New Light of Myanmar reported.
U Zaw Htay did not make a specific mention of the Rohingyas, who are denied citizenship by Myanmar and have been victims of alleged ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar army according to the UN.
U Zaw Htay said Myanmar was ready to accept the refugees after a process of verification and added that the cause of the delay was the construction of huge refugee camps in Bangladesh with international donations.
“Currently, they have got nearly $400 million. Over their receipt of this amount, we are now afraid of (them) delaying the programme of deporting the refugees,” the spokesperson said.
More than 1 million Rohingyas lived in Rakhine before the current crisis, although they have faced alleged growing persecution since the outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012 that killed at least 160 people and drove 120,000 into resettlement camps.
Last year, around 85,000 Rohingyas fled from Myanmar after an attack by a rebel group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, on border security posts, leading to a retaliatory offensive by the Myanmar army.
The current exodus started after a military campaign carried out in response to another attack by the ARSA on multiple security posts on August 25.
Bangladesh has recognized only around 30,000 Rohingyas as refugees.
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