Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Thailand holds 53 Rohingya migrants heading for Malaysia

-

Thai authorities on Saturday arrested 53 Rohingya migrants and two suspected Thai traffickers en route to neighbouring Malaysia, an official said.

The migrants were found on a rubber plantation in Takua Pa district in the southern coastal province of Phang Nga, district chief Manit Phianthong told AFP.

"We got a tip-off from an informant that a trafficking gang would be transporting Rohingya people to Malaysia," he said, adding that the migrants came from Myanmar's western Rakhine state and Bangladesh.

Thousands of Rohingya -- a Muslim minority group not recognised as citizens in Myanmar -- have fled deadly communal unrest in Rakhine since 2012, mostly heading for Malaysia.

The migrants arrested Saturday were ferried onto the Thai mainland from a small island in the Andaman Sea, Manit said, adding that one of the arrested traffickers confessed he was part of a bigger gang.

"We are still looking for the real masterminds," said the official.

Twelve Rohingya migrants are thought to have escaped during the raid, he added.

Myanmar views its population of roughly 800,000 Rohingya -- described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world -- as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, and denies them citizenship.

They face travel restrictions, forced labour and limited access to healthcare and education.

Around 300,000 Rohingya have over the years gone to live in Bangladesh, which recognises only a small portion as refugees and regularly turns back those trying to cross the border.

Rights groups say the stateless migrants often fall into the hands of unscrupulous people traffickers.

They have also criticised Thailand in the past for pushing boats of Rohingya entering Thai waters back out to sea and holding migrants in overcrowded facilities.

Thailand said last year it was investigating allegations that some army officials in the kingdom were involved in the trafficking of Rohingya.

Thai authorities on Saturday arrested 53 Rohingya migrants and two suspected Thai traffickers en route to neighbouring Malaysia, an official said.

The migrants were found on a rubber plantation in Takua Pa district in the southern coastal province of Phang Nga, district chief Manit Phianthong told AFP.

“We got a tip-off from an informant that a trafficking gang would be transporting Rohingya people to Malaysia,” he said, adding that the migrants came from Myanmar’s western Rakhine state and Bangladesh.

Thousands of Rohingya — a Muslim minority group not recognised as citizens in Myanmar — have fled deadly communal unrest in Rakhine since 2012, mostly heading for Malaysia.

The migrants arrested Saturday were ferried onto the Thai mainland from a small island in the Andaman Sea, Manit said, adding that one of the arrested traffickers confessed he was part of a bigger gang.

“We are still looking for the real masterminds,” said the official.

Twelve Rohingya migrants are thought to have escaped during the raid, he added.

Myanmar views its population of roughly 800,000 Rohingya — described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world — as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, and denies them citizenship.

They face travel restrictions, forced labour and limited access to healthcare and education.

Around 300,000 Rohingya have over the years gone to live in Bangladesh, which recognises only a small portion as refugees and regularly turns back those trying to cross the border.

Rights groups say the stateless migrants often fall into the hands of unscrupulous people traffickers.

They have also criticised Thailand in the past for pushing boats of Rohingya entering Thai waters back out to sea and holding migrants in overcrowded facilities.

Thailand said last year it was investigating allegations that some army officials in the kingdom were involved in the trafficking of Rohingya.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Social Media

These are posted by accounts who are really just looking to gain more followers.

Social Media

Kamala Harris faces a wave of gendered disinformation in the race to the White House. - Copyright AFP Brendan SMIALOWSKIAnuj CHOPRADoctored images, sexual slurs,...

World

Access to enough nutritious food is essential for individual well-being.

Tech & Science

The probe comes after surprise raids at the firms, which are two of the largest food delivery companies in Europe.