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Rohingya ‘terrified’ about premature Myanmar repatriation – aid groups

A plan to start repatriating Rohingya Muslims back to Myanmar is premature and the refugees are “terrified” about leaving Bangladesh where they sought refuge, aid agencies working in the region said on Friday. More than 720,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state after an army crackdown in August. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement in November last year to allow Rohingya to return but many fear going back without guarantees of citizenship and safety. The governments confirmed in recent weeks that they were pushing ahead with the first large-scale repatriation set for mid-November, prompting an outcry from activists. “They are terrified about what will happen to them if they are returned to Myanmar now,” 42 aid agencies and civil society groups said. Myint Khaing, the Maungdaw township administrator in northern Rakhine, told AFP that November 15 is the estimated repatriation start date.