185 Rohingya refugees landed in Aceh

JAKARTA: A boat carrying 185 Rohingya refugees reportedly landed on the coast of Aceh province, Indonesia yesterday, the local disaster agency reported.

The latest group follows hundreds who arrived late last year after fleeing overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The head of the Aceh Besar Disaster Agency, Ridwan Jamil, said that half of those who arrived around 2.30pm yesterday were women and children.

It is reported that hundreds of Rohingya refugees have arrived in Aceh over the past few months, including a boat carrying 174 people stranded on land at the end of December.

According to the Antara news agency, fishermen in Aceh also reported seeing three boats suspected of carrying Rohingya refugees in the waters near Rondo Island yesterday, but it was not clear whether the boat that landed was one of them.

Over the past few years, Rohingya refugees have fled to neighboring countries such as Thailand and Bangladesh as well as Muslim-majority countries including Malaysia and Indonesia.

Human rights groups have noted a significant increase in the number of people leaving the Bangladeshi camps so far.

It is not clear what prompted the matter, but some activists believe the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across Southeast Asia may be one of the main factors.-REUTERS

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