World Bulletin / News Desk
More than 500 Muslims Arakan fleeing Myanmar were rescued Sunday after washing ashore in northwest Indonesia, according to local media.
Muhammad Mazmu, a Bangladeshi who said he had spoken with those stranded, said the 550 people discovered had departed from Myanmar and Bangladesh, and not eaten for several days as supplies had run out.
“They have been bobbing in the sea for three months," he quoted Muhammad Juned, one of those onboard, as saying, according to portalsatu.com.
The local news website said the vessels had landed on the shores of four villages in North Aceh regency Sunday.
Mazmu, who has lived in Aceh province for seven years, said he was told that those onboard wanted to travel to Malaysia for work but were abandoned by the crew.
He added that around 84 people had been thrown into the sea after dying of hunger.
"They claimed they had been deceived by a ship owner from Thailand, even though they already paid 7,000 ringgit (around $1,900)," said Mazmu, adding that the majority of those who washed ashore were very young.
Muhammad Jafar, an official of Meunasah Sagoe village, said those stranded – found in weak condition due to a lack of food and water – were evacuated by fishermen and local residents to a number of mosques in the coastal area of Seunuddon subdistrict.
Lintasnasional.com website reported Jafar as saying that some people fled during rescue efforts.
"They thought here is Thailand or Malaysia, so they were frightened. Maybe they are traumatized by the events they have experienced,” Jafar said.
He added that when they finally learned they were in Aceh, “they were relieved.”
He said that residents sympathized with their plight, and provided them with shelter, food and clothes.
Amir Hamzah, North Aceh government spokesman, said the regency was recording the total number of men, women and children on the vessels.
“We will… [then] monitor them," he said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Mayıs 2015, 17:59