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Rohingya youths say beaten, raped in Indonesia camp

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This picture taken on June 15, 2015 shows Myanmar Rohingya women arriving at new temporary shelters for Rohingyas in Blang Adoe, North Aceh. © AFP

A group of Rohingya Muslim youths say they have been beaten and raped in an encampment in Indonesia.

Four females and six males, aged between 14 and 28, who were attempting to escape from the camp to go to neighboring Malaysia, said a group of masked Indonesian men stopped them near the camp and later took them into the woods.

The Rohingya youths said the men beat them and raped three of the females.

Tensions broke out at the encampment on Tuesday after authorities took one of the females to a hospital by force while other Rohingya did not want her to leave, fearing further abuse. 

That "caused some panic and a brief chaotic response, with Rohingya trying to stop the ambulance," said Steve Hamilton, the deputy chief of mission at the International Organization for Migration in Indonesia

Lhokseumawe district Police Chief Lt. Col. Anang Triarsono said claims of sexual abuse and torture committed by local residents disturbed those in the camp after the youths returned to the site.

On Tuesday, over 200 Rohingya Muslim refugees left the camp in anger carrying clothes and other supplies and it took a while until they were persuaded to go back.

“We very much regret this incident and will definitely thoroughly investigate it," said Amir Hamzah, a spokesman for the district government in North Aceh.

In this photo taken on May 20, 2015, Rohingya Muslim refugees rest on a boat off the coast near Kuala Simpang Tiga in Indonesia's East Aceh district of Aceh province before being rescued. © AFP


Officials added that a probe has been launched into the incident as they are still waiting for the results of medical examinations.

The Rohingya Muslims face extensive discrimination and restrictions in Myanmar. Many of the Muslims now live in displacement camps, three years after scores of them lost their lives amid a breakdown of violence between the community and local Buddhists. 

The Rohingya have faced torture, neglect, and repression in Myanmar for many years.

Since 2011, an estimated 130,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled violence and persecution in the Southeast Asian country, in a move, which is regarded the largest boat exodus in Asia since the Vietnam War.

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