130 missing in Rohingya boat sinking: Bangladesh police
01 November, 2012
DHAKA: About 130 people were missing after a boat carrying Rohingya refugees who were headed for Malaysia sank off Bangladesh, according to Bangladesh police and a Rohingya advocacy group on Wednesday.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled Myanmar in past decades to escape persecution, often heading to neighbouring Bangladesh, and recent unrest has triggered another exodus.
Muhammad Farhad, police inspector at Teknaf on the southeast tip of Bangladesh, told AFP that one survivor from the sinking on the border between Bangladesh and Myanmar reported that the boat had about 135 passengers on board. "The boat was heading to Malaysia illegally," Farhad said, adding that the 24-year-old survivor was being held in custody.
"He does not know what happened to the others as it was dark and he was desperate to save his own life." Farhad said a total of six survivors were reported to have been picked up by a fishing vessel after the refugee boat left Sabrang village in Bangladesh on Saturday.
"We have spoken to families of missing passengers," he said. There were conflicting reports about whether all those on the boat were Rohingya and also over the time of the sinking, which Bangladesh police said occurred on early Sunday.