Politics

1 killed as 130 people flee Malaysia immigration detention center

Bangkok, Feb 2 (EFE).- One migrant has been killed in an escape with 130 others from a Malaysian immigration detention center, authorities reported Friday.

The death was due to a road accident, the Malaysian Immigration Department confirmed in a statement, while local media reported that the victim was hit by a vehicle while crossing a highway.

The incident occurred at 9.50 pm on Thursday (13:50 GMT) at an immigration detention center in the Perak city of Bidor, about 140 kilometers north of Kuala Lumpur.

Some 375 members of various government agencies have been deployed to recapture the fugitives, the Immigration Department said Friday, requesting the cooperation of citizens who have information in this regard.

District police said that 115 escapees are Rohingya and 16 are Myanmar nationals, according to Bernama news agency.

The incident is the second of its kind to occur in recent years at a Malaysian immigration detention center.

In April 2022, 528 Rohingya escaped from a center in the northwestern state of Kedah, at least six of whom were killed during the escape while trying to cross a highway. The vast majority were recaptured.

The relatively prosperous Malaysia – which is not a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention – has been, for years, one of the preferred destinations for the Rohingya, a stateless Muslim ethnic minority from Myanmar, whose authorities do not officially recognize them and subject them to widespread discrimination.

In August 2017, Myanmar’s military launched a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine state, for which the government faces an accusation of genocide before the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The crackdown led more than 725,000 Rohingyas to flee on foot into neighboring Bangladesh, joining thousands of others who fled in previous years.

There they live in precarious conditions in the largest refugee camp network in the world, from where some opt to take a dangerous boat journey for a better life in Muslim-majority countries Indonesia and Malaysia.

The region experienced a refugee crisis in 2015, when thousands of Rohingya were left adrift on boats for weeks after authorities in Thailand and Malaysia dismantled human smuggling networks transporting them to those countries from Myanmar. EFE

nc/tw

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