"WE ARE ALWAYS missing you" : Torn apart by violence, Rohingya families connect through letters.

When Sait Banu's husband was arrested in their village in northern Rakhine one morning last August, she was not told why the police were taking him.

Inside a bamboo shelter on Bangladesh's eastern coast, 58-year old Sait Banu held a dog-eared note from her husband." If you find a good match for my daughter Una Jamin, you can arrange her wedding," he urged her in the letter.

" Don't worry there are no problems in Jail. "

The letter/message sent from a prison hundreds of miles away in Myanmar's Rakhine state, was the first Sait Banu had heard from her husband since he was-

Arrested in an army sweep last August that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, including Sait Banu and her nine children, to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

During weeks of violence that the United Nations has called "ethnic cleansing," soldiers killed, raped, and arrested thousands of Rohingya survivors and human rights groups said. Myanmar denies the allegations.

With entire villages razed and thousands believed dead, Rd Cross workers say many of those stick in Myanmar's prisons  have been desperate to know if their families made it to the safety of refugee camps in Bangladesh.

And those on the the other side of the border, unable to go back told Reuters they are equally keen to know if their loved ones had survived.

Scraps of papers carried between prisons in Myanmar and the camps by the International Committee of Red Cross are a source of hope for families torn apart by the largest and fastest  refugee influx in the region in the past 20 years, the refugee say.

More than 1,600 notes have been gathered from the Bangladeshi camps since August, the Red Cross says. About 160 have been delivered to jails in Rakhine and the replies sent back to Bangladesh.

Reuters saw copies of seven notes, provided by Red Cross officials hand-written in forms bearing the  letterheads of Red Cross organizations. [Agencies].


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