Boat carrying Rohingya refugees stranded off Aceh in Indonesia
JAKARTA: A boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees, including women and children, broke down and ran aground in waters off the coast of Aceh province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, said Monday, December 27 local authorities and humanitarian groups.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have sailed for years to countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia between November and April, when the seas are calm.
The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday that the boat carrying the Rohingya was spotted in the waters off Bireuen, Aceh on Sunday and was working with local authorities to save the group.
There were around 70 refugees in the boat, the Indonesian section of Amnesty International said, citing local authorities. Badruddin Jusuf, a local fishing community leader, estimated the number on board at 120 and said they had received food.
Amnesty said the fishermen called on local authorities to rescue the stranded Rohingya.
“There must be a joint responsibility between the countries of the region to carry out searches and rescues so that (the refugees) can avoid the dangers at seaâ¦”, said the executive director of Amnesty Indonesia, Usman Hamid.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar in August 2017 after a military crackdown that the refugees said included massacres and rapes. Rights groups have documented killings of civilians and the burning of villages.
The Burmese authorities say they are fighting an insurgency and deny having committed systematic atrocities.
Hundreds of Rohingya refugees have reached Aceh at regular intervals over the past few years, all of whom have been at sea for months.