Bangladesh border guards have killed one woman and left four others injured after they opened fire at a boat carrying Rohingya refugees fleeing an ongoing persecution and military crackdown in Myanmar.
Mainuddin Khan, the police chief in the Bangladeshi border town of Teknaf, said on Thursday that the deadly incident took place along a river dividing Bangladesh from Myanmar's westernmost state of Rakhine.
The casualties were caused as border authorities came under fire just after midnight and shot back at two fishing trawlers, the official claimed.
"The BGB (Border Guard Bangladesh) later found the boat anchored at a river island. One woman was found shot dead and four were injured," media outlets quoted Khan as saying.
Iskandar Mirza, the head of Teknaf's government-run hospital, confirmed that the woman identified as 50-year-old Jahida Khatun and the four injured were all members of the Rohingya community.
Some 75,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled persecution and violence in Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since the Myanmar army launched a crackdown in Rakhine in early October 2016.
Most headed to Cox's Bazar district, which borders Myanmar's Rakhine state.
Bangladeshi officials have for some time been intending to relocate tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees to the Thengar Char Island in the Bay of Bengal in eastern Bangladesh.
The New York-based rights Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Bangladeshi government to drop the plan for the relocation of Rohingya refugees to the remote island.
UN agencies recently reported that the Myanmar army had likely killed over 1,000 members of the ethnic community over the past months.
There have been numerous accounts by eyewitnesses of summary executions, rapes and arson attacks against Muslims since the crackdown began. The military has blocked access to the Rakhine state and banned journalists and aid workers from entering the area.
The United Nations has warned that the ongoing human rights violations against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine could amount to “crimes against humanity.”
Persecution of Rohingya Muslims in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar has been going on for years. According to the UN, Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.