Ro­hingya flee refugee camps

The Mercury - - WORLD - |

DOZENS of Ro­hingya Mus­lims in Myan­mar and Bangladesh have boarded boats to try to reach Malaysia, of­fi­cials said yes­ter­day.

Of­fi­cials de­tained 33 Ro­hingya and six Bangladeshis aboard a fish­ing boat bound for Malaysia in the south-eastern part of the Bay of Ben­gal, said Foyezul Is­lam Mon­dol, the head of the coast guard in south-eastern Tek­naf up­azila. Six Bangladeshis were also ar­rested, he said.

More than 700 000 Ro­hingya, mem­bers of a per­se­cuted Mus­lim mi­nor­ity, fled Rakhine fol­low­ing an army-led crack­down last year, set­tling in sprawl­ing Bangladeshi refugee camps, ac­cord­ing to UN agency fig­ures, while hun­dreds of thou­sands re­main in­side the coun­try in in­ter­nal dis­place­ment camps and vil­lages.

The new de­par­tures come as Myan­mar pre­pares to take some of the refugees back af­ter agree­ing with Bangladesh to start repa­tri­a­tion next week, de­spite op­po­si­tion from Ro­hingya, who say they will not re­turn with­out guar­an­tees of ba­sic rights. The UN has said con­di­tions in Rakhine are not con­ducive for re­turns.

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