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Rohingya girl, 11, tells Arab News how her father was shot dead

Jannat Ara Begum, who witnessed the slaughtered body of her father. (AN photo)
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh: An 11-year-old girl has described to Arab News how she found her father’s body in the street after he was shot dead by Myanmar army soldiers hunting down Rohingya Muslim men in Rakhine state.
Jannta Ara Begum and her family had been planning to leave their village when it was cordoned off by soldiers, who went from house to house looking for men. They escaped to a nearby jungle hilltop in Uttarpara, and returned when they thought the army had left.
Jannta’s father, Syed Alan, 48, a carpenter, went out to collect some rice for the family. “As soon as he left the house, we heard gunshots from the market place,” Jannta said.
“My mother and I were very frightened. The neighbors told us that my father had been slaughtered by the Myanmar army. I rushed to the spot and found my father lying on the street. He had been shot twice. It was a trauma for me and my family.”
Jannta and her mother, Anowara Begum, immediately set off toward the Bangladesh border with Jannta’s three brothers and four sisters. “We could not even arrange a funeral to bury my father,” she said.
“For the last eight days, I took shelter in a schoolyard along with mother and brothers and sisters. We have yet to find a tent to sleep in at night.”
Arab News found Jannat asking for help to buy food because she had not eaten for 24 hours. The refugees at the Rohingya camps in Ukhia and Teknaf area are living in miserable conditions.
A local volunteer from Cox’s Bazar, Mohammed Ashraf, said: “Every day we see new faces of Rohingya refugees, taking the total number around 420,000. They are desperate for food, shelter and life-saving medicine.”
The UN human rights agency in Bangladesh says it needs $7.7 million to supply tents and complete registration and other processes for the Rohingya refugees.
The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, has begun a week-long immunization program for refugee children aged 6 months to 15 years, targeting 150,000 children. The World Health Organization is providing 100,000 medical kits, 2 million water purification tablets and 20,000 cholera tablets.