102 abandoned migrants rescued in Tenasserim

102 abandoned migrants rescued in Tenasserim

The Burmese navy has recovered 102 men, thought to be asylum seekers from Bangladesh, who were abandoned on the island of Saunggauk, state media reported on Tuesday.

Naval personnel detained the men after searching Saunggauk, an island located near Kawthaung Township in the southernmost region of Tenasserim Division, from 30 June to 12 July.

According to state media, the detainees are of “Bengali” origin, a word commonly used to describe the Muslim Rohingya minority, implying that they belong to neighbouring Bangladesh. The Myawaddy News reported that the men were lured onto a people-smuggling boat bound for Malaysia by the promise of jobs abroad, and were subsequently abandoned on the island.

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The navy has declared it will continue to search all islands in the area, and that they will be handing the detained men over to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for repatriation.

This case is the latest event following the migrant crisis earlier in the year, which saw thousands of people stranded in the Bay of Bengal.

On 29 May, the Burmese navy found 727 migrants aboard a shipping trawler floating in the Gulf of Martaban, the largest boatload of people to be picked up by Burma. Some 150 were later repatriated to Bangladesh.

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