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Boat Carrying 15 Sinks in Naf River

Andrew Day
RB News 
December 31, 2013 

Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh - On Monday, December 30, 2013, five year old Sayedul Islam left with his grandmother from Nayapara refugee camp for a visit to Gojobil villaige in Maungdaw Township of Arakan (Rakhine) state of Myanmar. They had planned a one week visit there, to stay with family. They planned to cross secretly over that night by soliciting a boatman. 

The boat that the young boy and his grandmother, Tahera Begum left on had a total of 15 people aboard for the night crossing. The boat sank in the middle of Naf River just after 7pm. 

Three dead bodies were pulled from the water near the Bangladesh frontier. They were taken by police for autopsy. 

6 people were found alive near Myanmar by fishermen. Among them, Tahera Begum. She has not gained consciousness since being taken from the water. 

6 people are still missing. Five year old Sayedul is among those not recovered. 

Sayedul Islam, son of Shah Alam who died in road accident four years ago. He was born in Nayapara refugee camp. RB News visited his mother, Minara Begum, whom he lives with. She explained that her son had not yet been given an identification card from the Bangladesh UNCHR office. With her and her 2 daughters and 2 sons crying, she searched through a box in her hut to show his picture. She couldn't find it. Not one image of her young son, lost at sea. Just memories. 

Amongst the sorrow of a family, ever more eroded by loss and hardship RB News asked one last question to Minara Begum. What is your sons favourite colour? 

Blue. His favourite colour was blue.

Rohingya people on a boat cross the river Naf, from Burma into Bangladesh, in Teknaf 11 June 2012. (Reuters)

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