3 Rohingya killed, 45 rescued as boat carrying migrants sinks in Bay of Bengal

Bangladeshi coast guards recovered the bodies of three Rohingya refugee women and rescued 45 others after a boat carrying them to Malaysia illegally capsized in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday.


There were approximately 85 passengers on board, said Noor Mohammad, a Bangladesh Coast Guard official working at the Baharchhara outpost in the Teknaf area of the southeast Cox’s Bazaar district.


He told Anadolu Agency that 45 people were rescued alive and the rest made it to shore.


He added that four of those rescued were members of human trafficking networks.


The Coast Guard led the rescue operation, while local fishermen were the first to notice the incident and begin rescuing the victims.


The identities of those rescued were not immediately known, but according to police, the majority of them are Rohingya living in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps.


Delwar Hossain, contingent commander of the Coast Guard’s Baharchhara outpost, told Anadolu Agency that they left the spot after completing the rescue operation.


The overcrowded boat left for Malaysia early in the morning and sank in the Bay of Bengal.


It was not yet known how many people were on the boat. The officials did, however, say the rescued people are mostly Rohingya refugees living in various camps in Cox’s Bazar.


Police have taken the rescued into custody to investigate their identities.


One of the rescued Rohingya women told Anadolu Agency that they planned to migrate to Malaysia in search of a better life.


“As the situation inside Myanmar worsens, many of us are desperate to migrate to any third country,” she said, declining to give her name.


Meanwhile, images obtained by Anadolu Agency show that all rescued people, mostly Rohingya, were kept on the shore before being transferred to police custody. There are some children among them.


Bangladesh has housed 1.2 million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar since a refugee influx in 2017 in response to a Myanmar military crackdown.


With efforts to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar stalled, many members of the persecuted ethnic minority are looking for a way out, playing into the hands of human smugglers.


According to a 2020 UN report, 2,413 Rohingya refugees took risky sea routes to reach a third country from Bangladesh’s refugee camps. At least 218 people died or went missing during the perilous journey.


Meanwhile, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Moment at a press briefing on Tuesday evening said peaceful repatriation is the only solution to the Rohingya crisis.


“We have discussed the issues with many forums, and many big and powerful states, including Türkiye, have assured us of their support,” Momen added.


Source: Anadolu Agency