POLITICS

A wooden boat carrying dozens of Rohingya Muslim migrants capsizes off Indonesia’s Aceh province

Mar 20, 2024, 2:36 AM | Updated: 3:04 am

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — A wooden boat carrying dozens of Rohingya Muslims capsized about 16 miles (25 Kilometers) from the coastline of Kuala Bubon beach in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh on Wednesday.

Local fishermen rescued six of the refugees and moved them to a temporary shelter. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

About 740,000 Rohingya were resettled in Bangladesh to escape the brutal counterinsurgency campaign by security forces in their homeland of Myanmar.

Thousands have been trying to flee overcrowded camps in Bangladesh to neighboring countries with Indonesia seeing a spike in refugee numbers since November which prompted it to call on the international community for help. Rohingya arriving in Aceh face some hostility from some fellow Muslims.

Last year, nearly 4,500 Rohingya — two-thirds of them women and children — fled their homeland of Myanmar and the refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh by boat, the United Nations refugee agency reported. Of those, 569 died or went missing while crossing the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, the highest death toll since 2014.

Returning safely to Myanmar is virtually impossible because the military that attacked them overthrew Myanmar’s democratically elected government in 2021. So far, no country is offering them any large-scale resettlement opportunities.

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A wooden boat carrying dozens of Rohingya Muslim migrants capsizes off Indonesia’s Aceh province