Boat with about 140 Rohingya arrives in Indonesia amid migration crisis

Jakarta, Dec 2 (EFE).- Some 140 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, arrived Saturday on the coast of Indonesia, a new arrival of members of this Myanmar ethnic group persecuted in their country which comes amid the middle of a migration crisis.

The ship loaded with 139 Rohingya arrived at a beach in the city of Sabang, in the northeastern province of Aceh – in the north of the island of Sumatra – about 2:30pm local time (18:30 GMT on Friday), the Indonesian office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said.

After disembarking on the coast, a group of local residents tried to prevent the Rohingya from staying there and tried to get them to return to the ship and leave the city, the police spokesman in Sabang, Saiful Anwar, told EFE.

But the Rohingya were still sheltering Saturday morning on a beach in the area, the official said.

This is the first reported arrival of Rohingya in December, while throughout November more than 1,000 members of this ethnic group arrived in Aceh on different boats.

At the moment, it has not been confirmed whether the Rohingya left Myanmar or Bangladesh, where nearly 1 million refugees from this community that mostly profess Islam live.

The Rohingya embark on these dangerous ocean crossings in an attempt to flee Myanmar, where they suffer persecution, and the refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, where they are victims of an increase in crime, restrictions imposed by the authorities and the lack of hope.

In 2022, nearly 3,500 ethnic Rohingya risked their lives on the dangerous shipping routes of the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and at least 348 of them died or went missing on those crossings, according to the commissioner’s data.

In August 2017, the Myanmar army deployed a military campaign against the Rohingya in a brutal operation that led to the exodus of more than 720,000 refugees and for which the country faces an accusation of genocide before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. EFE


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