60 Rohingya die, hundreds rescued from boat after weeks at sea

17 April, 2020 12:00 AM printer

TEKNAF: Sixty Rohingya died on a boat crammed with hundreds of people stranded in the Bay of Bengal for more than two months, two survivors told AFP on Thursday.

Both said that the captain of the fishing trawler, carrying over 500 men, women and children, was also killed in a fight with those on board.

Nearly a million Rohingya live in squalid camps near Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar after fleeing a military offensive in 2017. Thousands try every year to reach other countries on crowded rickety boats.

Survivor Anwarul Islam said that after the ship was denied entry by both Malaysia and Thailand it headed back to Bangladesh where they were picked up by the coastguard late on Wednesday.

“There were more than 500 people onboard, jam-packed. At least 60 of us died in the boat. We held on board their funeral prayers and dropped their bodies in the sea,” Islam told AFP by phone.