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Malaysia transfers Rohingya detainees after breakout

CNA – A total of 448 Rohingya detainees at the Relau temporary detention centre in Kedah have been transferred to other detention facilities following the dawn breakout on Wednesday, the police said.

In a statement yesterday, Kedah Police Chief Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad said 248 of them were sent to the Semenyih and Bukit Jalil depots in Selangor. Another 200 detainees were relocated to Machap Umboo depot in Melaka and Langkap depot in Perak.

Bernama quoted Wan Hassan as saying that the detainees comprised 272 adult men, 83 adult women, 36 boys and 57 girls. All of them were sent to the four depots in an operation conducted until midnight.

At around 4.30am on Wednesday, 528 of 664 Rohingya detainees fled from the detention depot following a riot, and a manhunt was immediately mounted to recapture them.

The depot is located near the state border between Kedah and Penang. Six of the escapees died while crossing the North-South Expressway.

Wan Hassan was quoted as saying yesterday that 130 of them were still at large, including 99 adult men, 21 adult women, five boys and five girls.

A Malaysian Immigration truck drives in front of the temporary Sungai Bakap depot in Penang. PHOTO: AFP

“The search operation for all the detainees concerned will continue until all of them are found.

The total number of Rohingya detainees that have been found so far is 398,” he said, according to Bernama.

Two of the escapees were injured and were being treated at hospital, Wah Hassan said.

Kedah police also said that they had identified a man in his 30s as the mastermind who is suspected to have incited the riot that triggered the mass breakout.

“This man remains at large and search efforts are ongoing,” Kedah Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief G Suresh Kumar was quoted as saying by Bernama. In addition to questioning about 200 detainees, Kedah CID also called in over 20 Immigration Department staff and the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) who were on duty at the depot to have their statements recorded, according to the report.

“So far, what we know is that the escapees only wanted their freedom and it was not because they were unhappy with the camp management,” the state CID chief added.

Meanwhile, members of the public have been advised not to harbour any of the Rohingya detainees who escaped from the detention facility.

They should immediately call the police if they come across these escapees, said Perak police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid. “There is no need to sympathise, and protect them in your houses.

“Please call the police, and we will arrest them, and do what is necessary,” the Star quoted Mior Faridalathrash as saying in a press conference in Ipoh yesterday.