Hundreds of Rohingya refugees rescued in Malaysia, Indonesia

Malaysia detains more than a thousand Rohingyas while Indonesia rescues off second migrant boat carrying more than 400 migrants

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Malaysia has detained 1,018 Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugees on Monday, police said.

The announcement came as Indonesia said a second boat carrying hundreds of Rohingyas has been rescued off Indonesia’s far west coast, a day after 600 asylum seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh were rescued off the coast of Aceh.

Malaysian police said the refugees arrived in three boats, but only one boat was discovered after it got stuck on a breakwater. 99 women and 54 children were among the 1,018 asylum seekers who will be handed to the immigration department for "illegal entry," the officials said.

Meanwhile, Indonesian authorities announced that their search and rescue teams found a second boat off the country's west coast, carrying hundreds of asylum seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Officials in Aceh told AFP on Monday that the second boat had more than 400 long-persecuted Rohingya Muslims, who are provided food and medical treatment in shelters, clinics and the homes of local people across Aceh.

According to the local media, the migrants said they are abandoned at sea and started to drift when the boat ran out of fuel. Aid workers and officials believe thousands more stranded at sea and there will be more boats found in coming days.

Thousands of stateless Rohingya Muslims, who are denied citizenship, have fled violence and poverty in Myanmar since 2012 after the attacks by Buddhist mobs.

Most travel in boats to Thailand, where they are held by traffickers jungle camps until a ransom is paid.

Thai police have recently discovered two mass graves in the mountains of southern Thailand, victims of human traffickers.

According to Chris Lewa, director of human rights organization Arakan Project, 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.

TRTWorld and agencies