Hundreds of Rohingya 'return home' from Bangladesh

Dhaka, Feb 19: Hundreds of Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution in Myanmar have returned home, community leaders said today, adding that most had gone back temporarily to fetch relatives. 

Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled across the border from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine since October to escape a bloody crackdown by troops and police.

Dudu Mia, a refugee camp leader in the coastal town of Teknaf, said nearly 1,000 Rohingya -- mostly young men -- had returned to their home villages to collect elderly family members left behind earlier.

"Most of those men are hoping to bring their relatives back to Bangladesh. It's been four months and they have barely even talked to their parents back home," Mia told AFP. 

Myanmar's army has halted its operations in the north of Rakhine, a senior official said last week, ending the four-month crackdown which the UN has warned may amount to crimes against humanity.

Hundreds from the Rohingya Muslim minority are thought to have died and almost 70,000 have fled to Bangladesh since the military launched a campaign to find militants who attacked police border posts.