Malaysiakini News

Thailand, Indonesia turn back boats with migrants

Agencies  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The Thai navy pushed a boat carrying at least 300 migrants out to sea after giving them some supplies, a news report said today, according to dpa .

The migrants, thought to be ethnic Rohingyas from Myanmar, were spotted off the west coast of southern Thailand late yesterday, and given food, water and medicine, the Bangkok Post reported.

Authorities have decided not to implement proposed camps for migrants until after a regional meeting on the problem scheduled for May 29 in Bangkok, the report said, citing a security adviser to the government.

Thailand “cannot go it alone” with the camps, but would need to talk with the other countries involved first, the adviser said.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s navy prevented a boat carrying hundreds of migrants from entering its territory today, a military spokesperson said, according to Reuters .

“The boat is being held by the navy near the border in the waters off north Aceh (on Sumatra island),” said military spokesperson Fuad Basya.

“They are not being allowed to enter yet,” he added.

Most of the thousands of migrants passing through Thai waters each month are Rohingyas from Myanmar, many of the rest are Bangladeshis.

The migrants spotted Thursday told the Thai navy officials their boat had engine problems and had drifted into Thai waters, and that they wanted to go to Malaysia and Indonesia, it said.

“About 10 people died during the journey. We threw their bodies into the water,” one of them shouted in Rohingya to a boat of reporters that drew alongside.

Also yesterday, Malaysia intercepted two vessels in its northern waters carrying hundreds of migrants as it moved to boost sea patrols.

“Vessels carrying illegal migrants will not be allowed to enter Malaysian waters,” the director-general of Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Amdan Kurish, said.

Amdan said there were persistent reports that more vessels carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were heading for Malaysia.

More than 1,000 Rohingyas and Bangladeshis landed in Malaysia’s northern island of Langkawi this week.

- Agencies

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