COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — In a hospital bed in a strange country far from home, Mohammad Hasan cried out in pain and begged his son to call for help.
Hasan said he fled his village in northern Burma recently as the military and the local Buddhist civilians torched a nearby village. As he and his family approached the Bangladeshi border after an arduous days-long journey, he felt a small explosion and the ground move beneath his feet.Shrapnel ripped a gaping wound in his right leg.
Hasan and his family think the 70-year-old tripped a small explosive device planted in the grass: a land mine.
More than 300,000 members of Burma’s ethnic minority Rohingya have poured into Bangladesh in recent days, after a brutal military crackdown the U.N. rights chief has said is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, with hundreds dead and thousands of villages burned to the ground.
Now, the Rohingya refugees have a new fear — land mines planted in the border. Human rights groups allege the devices were placed there by the Burmese military, which has long used the explosive devices to quell counterinsurgencies.
Shaheen Abdur Rahman Choudhury, the head of Sadar Hospital in Cox’s Bazar, the biggest town near the border influx, said doctors have seen several patients in recent days with wounds consistent with those from land mines, most of whom had been taken to a larger medical college hospital in Chittagong for treatment.
Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said in an interview Wednesday that the government has “reliable information” that Burma’s security forces “laid land mines across a section of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.” Burma is also known as Myanmar.
A spokesman for Burma’s government,…