IANS

Boat with Rohingya refugees reaches Indonesia

Jakarta, Dec 4 (IANS) A boat with 20 Rohingya refugees reached the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province on Tuesday.

The refugees, aged between 13 and 50 years, arrived on Tuesday morning in the fishing village of Kuala Idi, an official from the search and rescue agency told Efe news.

Suhengki said the Rohingyas were in good health and were at a military post in Kuala Idi awaiting the arrival of immigration officials, who will decide where they will be housed.

Authorities have yet to discover where the Rohingyas set off from or how long they spent at sea.

According to Rima Shah Putra, director of non-profit Geutanyoe Foundation, the wooden boat they were sailing in had enough petrol to reach Malaysia, the usual destination of Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar or Bangladesh.

The group’s arrival comes after attempts last month to repatriate the refugees of the mostly Muslim minority to Myanmar from Bangladesh were abandoned as none were willing to return.

This is the third boat of Rohingya refugees to arrive in Aceh this year after two others, with 76 and five refugees respectively, were rescued in April.

More than 700,000 Rohingyas, who are not recognised as citizens by Myanmar, have sought refuge in Bangladesh since August 2017, following a military campaign against Rohingya rebels in the western state of Rakhine.

The repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar was set to begin on November 15 as per an agreement with Bangladesh but had to be cancelled after they refused to return, citing lack of guarantees regarding their security and citizenship.

Aceh has traditionally provided asylum to the Rohingya, with the region having received more than 2,000 refugees in 2015.

–IANS
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