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Another 147 Rohingya refugees land in Indonesia: official

By AFP

November 15, 2023 07:00 PM


 

At least 147 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, landed in Indonesia's westernmost province on Wednesday, a local official said, a day after nearly 200 others came ashore in the same area.

Thousands of the mostly Muslim Rohingya risk their lives each year on long and expensive sea journeys, often in flimsy boats, to try to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.

A wooden boat landed on a beach in Batee subdistrict in Aceh Province's Pidie region at around 17:10 local time (1030 GMT), local government official Ihsan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said in a statement.

"The boat was carrying Rohingya refugees who consisted of 46 adult men, 57 adult women, and 44 children, so 147 in total," he said.

It is not yet clear how long their boat was at sea or where it came from, but many Rohingya often make the arduous journey from refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Marfian, a spokesperson for the local fishing community, told AFP some fishermen tried to force the Rohingya boat away from shore.

"Our fishermen tried to block them and turned them back to the sea but their boat was too small to chase the Rohingyas' boat," he said.

"It seems like our people are getting tired of the Rohingyas. They landed not far from yesterday's arrival."

He said some of those who arrived were weak and ill, including hungry children.

UNHCR Indonesia spokeswoman Mitra Salima Suryono told AFP the agency could not confirm a headcount on the latest arrival but was working with local authorities to ensure their safety.

"We hope the refugees can be relocated to a better shelter," she said.

The new landing takes the total Rohingya landings in Aceh for the past 48 hours to 343 after 196 arrived in the Pidie region on Tuesday.

More than 2,000 Rohingya are believed to have attempted the risky journey to Southeast Asian countries in 2022, according to the UN refugee agency.

Nearly 200 Rohingya died or went missing last year while attempting hazardous sea crossings, the agency has estimated.


AFP


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