After Several Weeks at Sea, Over 100 Rohingya Muslims Arrive in Aceh

More than 100 weak and starving Rohingya Muslims were found on the coast of Aceh on Sunday (6/3) after spending weeks at sea.

Authorities said the group arrived at Jangka Beach, near Alue Buya Pasi, a fishing village in Bireun district, early Sunday.

The local chief, Badruddin Yunus, said villagers who saw 114 ethnic Rohingya on the rickety wooden boat, immediately helped them land and reported their arrival to the authorities.

“They looked very weak due to hunger and dehydration after a long and arduous voyage at sea,” he said, adding it was not yet clear where the group had traveled from or where they were going as no one spoke English or Malay.

Fifty-eight men, 21 women and 35 children were immediately given protection and received assistance from villagers, the police and the military. Meanwhile, health authorities, including the Covid-19 Handling Task Force, are helping to check their health.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to refugee camps in Bangladesh since August 2017, when Myanmar’s military launched a genocide or purge operation in response to attacks by rebel groups.

Myanmar’s security forces are accused of mass rape, murder and the burning of thousands of homes.

Groups of Rohingya refugees have been trying to leave overcrowded camps in Bangladesh and make the perilous journey by sea to other Muslim-majority countries in the region. [em/lt]