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More than 180 Rohingya Muslims arrive by boat in Indonesia“s Aceh


Rohingya refugees sit inside a temporary shelter after they landed in Kuala Matang Peulawi, East Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia, March 27, 2023, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Hayaturrahmah/via REUTERS

More than 180 Rohingya Muslims landed in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Monday, officials said, the latest among hundreds who have fled by boat from desperate conditions in Myanmar and in camps in Bangladesh.

The United Nations refugee agency has said 2022 may have been one of the deadliest years at sea in almost a decade for the Rohingya, a persecuted religious and ethnic minority in Myanmar.

A spokesperson for the local police, Kamil, confirmed by phone that 184 Rohingya had arrived in East Aceh district and were “all in healthy condition”.

It was not immediately clear how many vessels they were on.

Miftah Cut Ade, a senior member of the local fishing community in Aceh, said 90 women and children were among the migrants, who arrived about 3.30 a.m. (2030 GMT) on Monday.

Many Rohingya have for years attempted in rickety wooden boats to reach neighbouring Thailand and Bangladesh, and Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia, especially between November and April when the seas are calm. An untold number of them have died at sea from disease, hunger and fatigue.

Since November last year, Indonesia has registered 918 Rohingya who reached Aceh, its westernmost region, according to the foreign ministry, having made the journey south in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. That compared to 180 in the whole of 2021.

Nearly 1 million Rohingya live in crowded conditions in Bangladesh, among them those who fled a deadly crackdown in 2017 by Myanmar’s military, which denies committing crimes against humanity.

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