11 Rohingyas found dead after Indonesia boat capsizes

File photo: Rohingya refugees wait to be rescued from the hull of their capsized boat as a National Search and Rescue Agency vessel approaches in waters on March 21, 2024.

The bodies of at least 11 Rohingya refugees have been recovered off Indonesia’s westernmost coast after their boat believed to be carrying around 150 people capsized last week, officials said on Monday.
The mostly Muslim ethnic Rohingya are heavily persecuted in Myanmar, and thousands risk their lives each year on long and expensive sea journeys, often in flimsy boats, to try to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.
Indonesian rescuers called off the search for any remaining Rohingya refugees on Friday after 75 were rescued, despite reports from some survivors that dozens of people were swept away when their boat and another trying to help them capsized days earlier.
The head of the local search and rescue operation, Muhammad Fathur Rachman told AFP nearly half-a-dozen Rohingya were found dead at sea 26 kilometres from shore.
“Six more bodies are being evacuated right now,” he said by phone on Monday afternoon.
“They were all women. We heard about the bodies from a fisherman. The bodies will be taken to the hospital.”
Earlier on Monday, United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) officials told AFP five bodies had been recovered in recent days.
On Thursday, authorities staged a dramatic rescue of 69 Rohingya who had been adrift at sea for weeks before the boat capsized, with many found clinging to the hull of the overturned vessel. Six others were rescued by fishermen on Wednesday.
From mid-November to late January, 1,752 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, landed in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, according to the UNHCR.
The UN agency said it was the biggest influx into the Muslim-majority country since 2015, driven by worsening conditions in squalid camps in Bangladesh and the continuing threat of violence in the Rohingya’s native Myanmar.