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Myanmar detains Rohingyas fleeing to Malaysia by boat

IANS

 

MYANMAR

Dozens of Rohingyas were detained by the Myanmar police on Friday after they came ashore in the country’s Kyauktan region.

Over 100 members of the mostly Muslim minority were arrested and put into trucks by the police after their boat, bound for Malaysia, lost its way and washed up near Kyautktan, about 30 km south of Yangon, Efe news reported.

Some of the occupants said that they left Sittwe, the capital of the state of Rakhine, on October 25 due to food shortages in their camp. They said their boat went adrift and lost its way while sailing in the sea.

One of the passengers onboard the boat died of starvation, a 45-year-old man said. He said his own three children were starving in the camp, forcing them to seek refuge in Malaysia.

The survivors were in the custody of the police, the report said.

Myanmar considers the Rohingyas, a minority Muslim community, illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. They are denied citizenship and subjected to a number of restrictions, including limits on their freedom of
movement.

Some 723,000 Rohingyas fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape a violent military crackdown in Rahkhine state in August 2017, according to the UN.

Those who didn’t flee are not allowed to move out of their camps without the police authorisation. Some 12,000 people live in these camps or in towns under surveillance.

In 2015, thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were stranded in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea after Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia denied them entry.

Thai authorities that year busted a ring of illegal trafficking of Rohingyas through the dangerous sea route in rickety boats.

Myanmar officials have said they are ready to welcome the Rohingya back in the country from Bangladesh.

But the voluntary repatriation process that was due to take place from Thursday as per an agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar failed as none of the refugees was ready to return as they feared for their safety.

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