Four Indonesians Apprehended over Trafficking of Rohingya Refugees

Wed Apr 03 2024
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MEULABOH: Four Indonesians have been apprehended in connection with the trafficking of dozens of Rohingya refugees whose boat sank in waters near archipelago’s coast last month, said police on Tuesday.

Authorities last month rescued 69 Rohingya refugees near the western coast of Aceh province. Fishermen saved six others a day earlier.

The bodies of 16 Rohingya refugees were also found after the boat capsized with around 150 people aboard.

Police in Aceh province said three alleged men were rescued and then taken into custody, while a fourth was arrested after the other suspects were being interrogated.

The men had traveled to the sea to pick up the refugees, coming from Bangladesh on another boat, with the objective of transporting them to Malaysia.

West Aceh police chief Andi Kirana told a news conference that after being picked up from Sabang island, the Rohingya refugees would be shifted to North Sumatra province by trucks before entering into Malaysia.

He said that one of the suspects, said that he got $314 per refugee from an agent in Malaysia. The three others were accused of driving small boats into the sea to pick up the refugees.

Kirana added authorities are still in search for four more suspects, the masterminds behind the trafficking of Rohingya refugees to Aceh.

Many Rohingya take a dangerous 4,000-kilometer journey from Bangladesh to reach Malaysia.

The mostly ethnic Muslim Rohingya are facing persecution in Myanmar, and thousands risk their lives on expensive and long sea journeys each year.

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