48 Rohingya arrested off Myanmar coast

PATHEIN, MYANMAR (AFP) – Nearly 50 Rohingya have been detained at sea by Myanmar’s navy, a local official said yesterday, the latest from the persecuted minority to be caught trying to flee camps in Bangladesh and Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state.

It was not immediately clear where the group started their boat journey but they were likely aiming for Malaysia or Indonesia.

Thousands of Rohingya have taken to the sea over the years in high-risk attempts to escape sprawling refugee camps in Bangladesh and oppressive conditions in Rakhine.

Village administrator Myint Thein told AFP by phone the navy had picked up 48 Rohingya men, women and children, as well as five “traffickers”, at sea on Wednesday evening.

An AFP reporter saw the group arrive yesterday morning at Pathein township police station.

“We don’t know how authorities in Pathein town will proceed,” Myint Thein said.