At least 3 Rohingyas killed, 45 rescued as boat capsizes off Bangladesh

Dhaka, Oct 4 (EFE).- At least three Rohingyas were killed and 45 rescued alive on Tuesday after their boat capsized in the Bay of Bengal while they were trying to flee to Malaysia from the overcrowded refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh.

The victims had boarded a fishing boat with the help of some intermediaries, but the vessel sank “about one-and-half hours after they started the journey” on Tuesday morning, when they were just a few kilometers away from the Baharchara coast, local police chief Nur Mohammad told EFE.

“Around 50-55 people were on the boat. So far 45 people have been rescued alive. Also, three women’s bodies have been recovered. Rescued people told us they were travelling to Malaysia,” he said.

Four of the rescued people were identified as the “intermediaries” organizing the trip and arrested by the authorities, while the refugees would be sent back to their camps after legal proceedings, the officer said.

Undocumented Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants have time and again tried to flee to other countries through the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, seeking better lives.

In April 2020, Bangladesh authorities rescued 396 Rohingyas, who were trying to return to the country in a boat from the southern coast, after 58 days at sea.

They had been blocked by Malaysian authorities from entering the country, after fleeing from Bangladeshi refugee camps.

At least 28 people died due to the lack of food and drinking water during the unfortunate voyage, with their bodies being thrown in the sea, according to the testimonies of the rescued refugees recorded by the Bangladeshi coast guard.

Earlier in February 2020, at least 15 Rohingyas drowned when another boat carrying refugees sank off the coast of Bangladesh while on its way to Malaysia.

Bangladesh is home to over 925,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled neighboring Myanmar, including around 774,000 who escaped after the Myanmar military launched a military campaign in 2017, described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide by the United Nations.

Rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have warned that the best way to stop desperate migration attempts by the ethnic minority community from Myanmar is to begin their repatriation at the earliest. EFE


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