129 Rohingya found adrift off Indonesia

source from dvb news,
By AFP, Published: 16 February 2011129 Rohingya found adrift off Indonesia thumbnail

Rohinga refugees who washed up on Indonesia’s shores in February 2009 are seen receiving medical treatment (Reuters)

A wooden boat carrying more than one hundred migrants from Burma’s Rohingya minority has been found drifting off Indonesia’s Sumatra island, local police said on Wednesday.

The 129 male migrants from the Muslim community had been at sea for about three weeks when their boat experienced engine trouble, Aceh provincial maritime police chief Mohammed Zaini told AFP.

“The 129 Muslim Rohingyas were rescued by Indonesian fishermen after their boat’s engine malfunctioned. We have given them food and are now carrying out medical check-ups,” he added.

“We’re coordinating with the immigration office, Jakarta government and the International Organisation for Migration for follow-up action,” Zaini said.

The men, many looking pale and tired, were being temporarily housed near the provincial capital Banda Aceh at the Northern tip of Sumatra island after being rescued on Tuesday.

Seven of them were receiving medical attention, Zaini said.

One of them, 27-year-old Nur Alam, said they had left their homes in Burma’s western Arakan state because they were being abused by the military.

“We’ve been drifting for 20 days. We left Myanmar [Burma] because we had been cruelly treated by the military. Muslims there were killed and tortured,” he told AFP.

“We want to go to Indonesia, Malaysia or any other country which is willing to take us in,” he added.

Burma effectively denies citizenship rights to the Rohingya, leading to discrimination and abuse and contributing to a regional humanitarian crisis as hundreds try to flee the country by boat every year.

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