The Rohingya Muslims have been denied citizenship for decades by the government of Myanmar. After being termed as ‘Bengalis’, they were not given their due citizenship and were forced to flee by the armed forces. This refugee crisis has created a desperation among the Rohingya Muslims to find themselves a safe home.
The Rohingya boys use yellow plastic drums as flotation devices as they arrive at Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, after swimming the Naf river / Image: AP
The 31-year-old Rohingya boy chose to stake his life to escape his village in Myanmar. Nabi Hussain, who could not swim, and had never even seen the sea before fleeing his village in Myanmar clung to the empty drum and struggled across the water with it for about 2.5 miles, all the way to Bangladesh, news agency AP reported.
“I was so scared of dying,” said Nabi, a lanky boy in a striped polo shirt and checkered dhoti. “I thought it was going to be my last day.”
As many as 40 have arrived in Bangladesh on floating devices without knowing how to swim. Image : AP
In just a week, more than three dozen Rohingya boys and young men swam to Bangladesh, many by using yellow plastic cooking oil drums to help them float.
The government denies them basic rights, and the United Nations has called them the most persecuted minority in the world. Just since August, after their homes were torched by Buddhist mobs and soldiers, more than 600,000 Rohingya have risked the trip to Bangladesh.