At least 12 people, mainly children, have drowned after a boat carrying some 100 Rohingya Muslim refugees capsized off the coast of Shah Porir Dwip, southern Bangladesh. Authorities said 13 people were rescued, but scores are missing.

"It capsized near Galachar with nearly 100 people," area coast guard commander Alauddin Nayan told AFP. The deaths include 10 children, an elderly woman and a man.

The incident occurred on Sunday 8 October, just days after 60 people were thought to have drowned after another boat carrying Rohingya refugees overturned near the Bay of Bengal.

The Rohingya have been dubbed as one of the world's most persecuted ethnic minorities. They live in segregated conditions in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar, where they are regarded as stateless people and unwelcome migrants from Bangladesh. They routinely flee the country to escape alleged persecution from the state.

More than 500,000 Rohingya fleeing a military operation in Myanmar have sought shelter in Bangladesh since August.

The latest exodus was sparked following attacks by Rohingya insurgents that killed at least 12 people in Rakhine state. The military retaliated in what was described as "clearance operations" to identify and root out any fighters found in villages across Rakhine.

However, the UN repeatedly warned that the military operation may amount to ethnic cleansing, a claim that Myanmar has strongly denied.

The country's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, is facing scathing criticism for her prolonged silence and perceived inaction to resolve the crisis.

In her first address on the situation earlier in September, Suu Kyi condemned human rights abuses, but failed to address UN accusations of ethnic cleansing.

She also failed to use the word "Rohingya" in her speech, explaining that it was too "emotive" and "highly charged" for an already affected population.

IBTPOTY2017 Pictures of the week
1 October 2017: A Rohingya Muslim woman collapses from exhaustion after arriving on a wooden boat from Myanmar to the shore of Shah Porir Dwip, in Teknaf, near Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, Mohammad Ponir Hossain/Reuters