Dozens of Rohingya refugees reach Indonesia, while 180 others feared dead

A boat containing over 57 Rohingya refugees reached the coast of Indonesia's western Aceh province on Sunday, as another boat carrying 180 Rohingya refugees is feared to have sunk with all onboard.

The 57 refugees, all male, had spent nearly a month drifting at sea after their ship's engine broke before reaching the shores of Aceh. The head of the Banda Aceh immigration office, Telmaizul Syatri, told local media that the refugees are currently being kept at a local government facility. He added that his department is still liaising with two UN-led refugee agencies.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said over the weekend that it feared a boat that started its journey from Bangladesh at the end of November was missing at sea, with all 180 on board presumed dead.

Nearly 1 million Rohingya from Myanmar are living in crowded facilities in Muslim-majority Bangladesh, including tens of thousands who fled their home country after its military conducted a deadly crackdown in 2017. In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, most Rohingya are denied citizenship and are seen as illegal immigrants from South Asia.

Two boats carrying a total of 230 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, landed on the shores of Indonesia's Aceh province in November, while this month, Sri Lanka's navy rescued 104 Rohingya adrift off the Indian Ocean island's northern coast.

(Source: Reuters)

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