A Rohingya woman and her three children were trampled to death by wild elephants as they slept in a refugee camp in southern Bangladesh, according to local officials.
Four others, including the woman’s husband, were injured as the herd of elephants descended on the Balukhali camp in Ukhiya town early Saturday, said district forest official Mohammed Ali Kabir.
Distraught husband Abu Bakar Siddique said Sunday he’d been released from the hospital, but that another of his children and some relatives remained hospitalized.
“I fled Myanmar to avoid attacks by the military. But the elephants have killed my wife and children,” Siddique said. “It is painful to live this way. I have lost everything.”
Multiple tents were flattened, but others fled to safety as they heard the huge mammals lumbering into the encampment.
The new camp was built in a forested area previously known to be frequented by threatened elephant herds, said officials, who added the animals use the area as a crossing ground.
Some 500,000 Rohingya Muslims have escaped Myanmar’s Rakhine state since late August when the country’s security forces began brutally enforcing a broad crackdown on the long-marginalized minority.
The bloody persecution had been described as “textbook ethnic cleansing” by the United Nations.
This is the third elephant attack on refugees since August, authorities said. At least three people were killed in the prior ambushes.