Rohingya refugee boat with dozens of children stranded in Indonesia
A boat carrying more than 100 Rohingya refugees, including dozens of children, was stopped early Sunday morning off the coast of Aceh, Indonesia’s western province, police said.
The boat, which departed from a Rohingya camp in Bangladesh, arrived at the beach in the Briun area just after 3 p.m.
Police said there were 114 people, including 58 men, 21 women and 35 children under the age of 15.
“We are going to conduct a public health test and Covid 19 antigen testing for these foreigners,” local police chief Mike Hardy Virapraja told AFP.
He said they would then be relocated to the neighborhood of Lhokseumawe, which has a reception center for refugees.
“We are from Burma, but we fled to Bangladesh and we started our journey from Bangladesh,” one of the refugees, Omar Farooq, told the AFP reporter that the group had been at sea for 25 days.
“We left Bangladesh because the situation of the Rohingya in the camp was not good and now it is getting worse,” the 11-year-old boy who left his mother in Bangladesh said in English. Start a new life in a Muslim-majority country like Indonesia or Malaysia.
He added that I have come here to improve my education.
This is the second visit in recent months of persecuted minorities in the Muslim-majority country of Indonesia.
More than 100 Rohingya arrived in Bireun in late December, wandering for days before the Indonesian government allowed them to disembark and drag the affected boat ashore.
Millions of Rohingya Muslims have fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since 2017 after a series of military crackdowns, including massacres and rapes of refugees.