14 bodies found washed up on Myanmar beach

Migrants seen waiting to be rescued from their boat.

  • The 14 migrants had traveled by boat from western Myanmar.
  • 35 other people including boat owners were rescued alive. Twelve others are still missing.
  • The local rescue team said 12 women and two boys were dead.

The bodies of 14 people have been found washed up on a beach in Myanmar, police told AFP on Monday, where a local rescue group said some were Rohingya trying to reach Malaysia.

The migrants had traveled by boat from western Myanmar, according to a local Rohingya activist.

“Fourteen dead bodies were found and 35 people including boat owners were rescued alive,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tun Shwe, a police spokesman in the Pathein district, about 200 kilometers west of Yangon.

A member of the Myanmar Rescue Organization Pathein, who requested anonymity, said they found eight bodies on Sunday and all were from the Rohingya minority.

A local Rohingya activist told AFP that 12 women and two boys were dead.

The boat had been transporting people from the towns of Buthidaung, Maungdaw and Sittwe in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, the activist added, also asking for anonymity.

Survivors said 61 people had been on board the vessel, the rescue team member told AFP, leaving 12 still missing.

Those who had been rescued were being held at Pathein police station, spokesman Tun Shwe said.

He did not say if anyone would be charged – as is sometimes the case for Rohingya who are caught trying to flee Myanmar.

– Dangerous travel –

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar by Buddhist majority since 2017 after a military crackdown that refugees say included mass murder and rape.

The Rohingya still in Myanmar are widely seen as invaders from Bangladesh and denied citizenship, many rights and access to services.

The leader of Myanmar’s junta regime Min Aung Hlaing – who was the leader of the armed forces during the crackdown in 2017 – has dismissed the label Rohingya as “an imaginary term”.

Every year, hundreds of Rohingya make dangerous, months-long voyages to other parts of Southeast Asia.

Relatively wealthy Malaysia is usually the preferred destination.

Many arrive by boat after enduring harrowing, months-long voyages at sea.

The detainees are often sent to detention centers, which rights groups say are typically overcrowded and dirty.

Hundreds of Rohingya migrants escaped a detention center in Malaysia last month after a riot broke out, with six killed on a highway as they fled, authorities said.

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14 bodies found washed up on Myanmar beach

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