Rohingya solution has to be found in Myanmar: Bangladesh foreign secretary

Global aid groups fear tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who remain in northern parts of Rakhine are in urgent need of food, medicine and shelter after over a month of military operations. "We proposed that we should also involve global bodies in the process because the numbers are large", he said. He said Dhaka wants the refugees to return "as soon as possible".

Experts said Bangladeshi Islamist extremist groups could exploit the situation and forge closer ties with Rohingya militants.

"Not that it always becomes (a security threat), depends on how you manage it". It has not moved into a security area.

"Those who have been accused of committing abuses should be removed from command responsibilities immediately and prosecuted for wrongdoing", she said.

The joint statement said India and the European Union also recognised the role being played by Bangladesh in extending humanitarian assistance to the people in need.

He also refused to comment on India's proposal to deport around 40,000 odd Rohingyas who are settled in camps across the country.

"The Rohingya fled to Bangladesh without any legal documents and it is hard to prove their identity", he told AFP. We agreed this is a huge burden on Bangladesh and it has potential to destabilise the region.

"We've received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled, mainly women, children and the elderly", he said.

Northern Rakhine has been torn apart by violence since August 25, when raids by Rohingya militants sparked a massive army crackdown that the United Nations says is tantamount to "ethnic cleansing".

Haque said as much when he stressed that it was a case of ethnic cleansing. Once there is ethnic cleansing I do not think people who commit ethnic cleansing make separation between Muslims and Hindus.

Rohingya, a Muslim minority, do not qualify for Myanmar citizenship even though many have lived there for generations while its army insists they are interlopers from across the border in Bangladesh. The crisis began when a Rohingya insurgent group launched attacks with rifles and machetes on a series of security posts in Myanmar on August 25, prompting the military to launch a brutal round of "clearance operations" in response.

This time Bangladeshi government, while extending them hospitality has been strict and ordered restrictions including no sim cards, and confining the whole refugee population to one camp in Kutpalong.

But Bangladesh minister Mahmood Ali said there had been a repatriation offer in what he called "friendly" talks in Dhaka with the representative of Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

  • Jack Mann