By Merve Aydogan
ANKARA (AA) - Three Rohingya children drowned as their boat capsized after they fled Myanmar on Thursday, according to Bangladesh-based Dhaka Tribune daily.
The boat -- carrying a total of 54 Rohingya Muslims, who attempted to reach Bangladesh from Myanmar -- sank in the Bay of Bengal, on Thursday afternoon, according to the witnesses and police.
Local media outlets Dhaka Tribune and Prothom Alo stated the boat got caught in "strong currents" which caused the boat to sink.
The age of deceased children ranged from four-months old to seven-years old.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
More than 650,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar since Aug. 25, 2017 when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published on Dec. 12, 2017, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.