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Bangladesh relief camps fill up as Rohingya refugees flee Burma

Relief camps in Bangladesh are reaching full capacity as thousands of Rohingya refugees continue to flee violence in western Burma.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees spokeswoman Vivian Tan said some 73,000 people have crossed the border since violence erupted on August 25.

Another aid official said earlier that more than 50 refugees have arrived with bullet injuries and have been moved to hospitals in Cox's Bazar.

Refugees reaching the Bangladeshi fishing village of Shah Porir Dwip described bombs exploding and Rohingya Muslims being burned alive in a military crackdown.

Both Burma's security officials and Rohingya insurgents are accusing each other of atrocities in Rakhine state.

The military has said nearly 400 people, most of them insurgents, have died in clashes following rebel attacks on security posts.

Aid workers said that large numbers of refugees required immediate medical attention as they were suffering from respiratory diseases, infection and malnutrition.

The existing medical facilities in the border area were insufficient to cope with the influx and more aid and paramedics were needed, aid workers said.

"We fled to Bangladesh to save our lives," said a man who only gave his first name, Karim. "The military and extremist Rakhine are burning us, burning us, killing us, setting our village on fire."

He said he paid for each of his family members to be smuggled on a wooden boat to Bangladesh after soldiers killed 110 Rohingya in their village of Kunnapara, near the coastal town of Maungdaw.

"The military destroyed everything. After killing some Rohingya, the military burned their houses and shops," he said. "We have a baby who is eight days only, and an old woman who is 105."

Satellite imagery analysed by Human Rights Watch shows hundreds of buildings had been destroyed in at least 17 sites across Rakhine state since August 25, including some 700 structures that appeared to have been burned down in just the village of Chein Khar Li, the rights watchdog said.

The government blames the insurgents for burning their own homes and killing Buddhists in Rakhine. Long-standing tension between the Rohingya Muslims and Buddhists erupted in bloody rioting in 2012, forcing more than 100,000 Rohingya into displacement camps, where many still live.

Bangladeshi police said on Thursday that three boats carrying refugees had capsized in the Naf River, killing at least 26, including women and children.

AP

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