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Two Rohingya found dead, several more were spotted at sea after Indonesia ends survivor search


NEW DELHI: Two Rohingya refugees‘ bodies were recovered and several more were spotted at sea, as per local rescuers on Saturday, days after the tragic incident where a wooden boat carrying about 150 individuals capsized, leaving numerous missing or dead.
Despite survivors’ reports of dozens being swept away on Wednesday, Indonesian rescuers halted the search on Friday.Fishermen sighted over a half-dozen bodies on Saturday, with only two being retrieved so far, authorities said.
“We evacuated only two people. Both were females,” Mirza Safrinadi, Aceh Jaya Search and Rescue Operation chief, told reporters.
“It’s confirmed, they are Rohingyas. According to the fishermen’s information, there are several more victims who drowned.”
United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) protection associate Faisal Rahman told AFP “two (bodies were) already evacuated, the rest are still in the process”.
The Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar, often risk their lives each year and undertake perilous sea journeys in flimsy boats towards Malaysia or Indonesia.
On Thursday, authorities conducted a dramatic rescue of 69 Rohingya individuals who had been stranded at sea for several weeks before their boat overturned, leading many to cling to the hull of the capsized vessel.
Fishermen had rescued six others on Wednesday.
Between mid-November and late January, 1,752 Rohingya refugees, predominantly women and children, arrived in the Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, as reported by the UNHCR. The UN agency said that this marked the largest influx into the Muslim-majority country since 2015.
(With input from agencies)

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