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Rohingya migrants rescued at sea

Published 10/05/2015

People rescued at sea in Indonesia wait to be transported to a temporary shelter in the Aceh province (AP)
People rescued at sea in Indonesia wait to be transported to a temporary shelter in the Aceh province (AP)

Boats carrying more than 500 members of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim community have washed ashore in western Indonesia.

Steve Hamilton, deputy chief of mission at the International Organisation for Migration in Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, said his teams were racing to the Aceh province sub-district of Seunuddon, where the boats landed.

Of the four boats found, three had apparently been abandoned by the smugglers and the other ran out of fuel, he said.

Most of those on the boats were Rohingya, but there were also some Bangladeshis on board, Mr Hamilton said.

The Rohingya have for decades suffered from state-sanctioned discrimination in Myanmar, sending 100,000 people fleeing in recent years, according to the Arakan Project, which has monitored the movements of Rohingya for more than a decade.

Indonesian authorities said the migrants who arrived in Aceh early on Sunday were taken to a police station and a sports stadium, where they were being given care.

Risky Hidayat, from Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency, said some of the migrants mentioned that there was another boat with an unspecified number of people on it still at sea in the same area.

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