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For Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution, elephants pose a new threat

WHEN the tarpaulin she was sleeping under started rustling furiously in the darkness, Mustaba Khatun thought it was thieves cutting their way into her shelter on the edges of Bangladesh’s Kutupalong-Balukhali refugee camp, where the city of bamboo and plastic meets the forest. “We thought someone had come to take our supplies so we rushed outside and that’s when we saw the elephant. Then it charged at us,” she recalled of the night in September 2017, only weeks after she fled a military operation in Burma (Myanmar) that killed an estimated 6,700 Rohingya Muslims. A child and an adult were killed in that nocturnal chaos, and the community was left with a new fear to live with after a harrowing escape from alleged “systematic killings and rape.” One of Khatun’s neighbours, his own leg still bandaged from falling over as he bolted from the scene, keeps a grisly photo of the aftermath on...

 

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