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Myanmar officials question rise in refugees in Rakhine camps

There were reports that Bengalis were sneaking into the camps at night in order to get houses. - Eleven Media/ANN

Tue, Apr 02, 2013
Eleven Media/Asia News Network

The number of Bengali refugees in camps for internally displaced people in Rakhine State has jumped to more than 100,000 since reports that Turkey had offered to help those in the camps build houses in the state, a member of the state government said.

Previously there were about 70,000 Bengali refugees in the state, according to official figures.

Win Myaing, secretary at the state government's information and records committee, said there were reports that Bengalis were sneaking into the camps at night in order to get houses.

"Some of them are not actually refugees who lost their homes during the violence," Win Myaing said. "Some people say they entered the camps secretly at night. Turkey made the offer to build houses for Bengali refugees, but we [we] rejected it. The number of them in the camps is rising," he said.

The state government rejected the offer after residents of Sittwe, Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships protested against the housing-assistance offer on March 7.

Still, the number of Bengali refugees in the camps began rising soon after the offer was made.

"Previously, there were just around 75,000 Bengali refugees in the camps. Now, their number has reached 150,000. Some of them are not refugees. [They] don't need to worry about food and shelter in the camps, so some who don't want to work also went to the camps," said Aye Thar Aung, chairman for Arakan League for Democracy.

 
 
 
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