Hundreds of Rohingya Muslims who escaped religious persecution in Myanmar were rescued from boats grounded in Indonesia.
“Two separate boats carrying 469 men, women and children arrived” said Steve Hamilton, deputy mission chief at the International Organization for Migration in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital told AP.
One of the largest boat exoduses since the Vietnam War, the persecution in Myanmar has displaced at least 100,000 people over the last three years as Buddhist mobs started attacking Muslims according to Chris Lewa, director of human rights organization Arakan Project, which has monitored the movements of Rohingya for more than a decade.
Lewa confirmed that nearly 500 Rohingya Muslims landed in Indonesia early Sunday. Some were apparently weak due to lack of food and water, she said.
Thai authorities had found mass graves of believed to be Rohingya Muslims in detention camps in border areas earlier this month.
Although, Rohingya Muslims used to be kept in jungle camps where brokers took ransoms before allowing them to pass by boats, they changed their tactics.
Lewa said that a several migrant groups stranded in boats are now being held at sea.
An estimated number of 7,000 Rohingya Muslims are being held in the Malacca Straits, unable to make it to the land because of strict precautions against trafficking networks in Thailand and Malaysia.