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Rohingya Boat Heading To Aceh, Not Malaysia

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BANGKOK – The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has not discounted the possibility that a boat ferrying a group of Rohingya which landed in Aceh today, was the same vessel sighted near the Phang Nga waters in southern Thailand, two days ago.

Since its detection near the Phang Nga waters, the wooden boat with about 60 Rohingya refugees on board was tracked by naval radar to be moving southward to Satun near the Thai-Malaysia maritime border, with Langkawi island being the possible destination.

“My men in Koh Lipe (near Satun) noted that the boat did not move towards the Malaysian waters but instead, was headed to Aceh,” RTN’s Third Region Naval Commander, Vice-Admiral Somnuek Prampramote told Bernama today.

According to him, from Koh Lipe, the boat needs to sail another 200km before it reaches the waters off Aceh.

He said he was confident the boat would have arrived in Aceh waters by now, barring any untoward incident.

International media today reported that a boat carrying 76 Rohingya refugees, including 25 women and eight children had landed in northern Sumatera’s Aceh.

It was not clear whether it was the same Rohingya boat sighted by the RTN vessel in Thailand’s waters, days ago as reported by Bernama yesterday.

Early this month, Malaysian maritime authorities rescued a boat carrying 56 Rohingya refugees in Langkawi waters.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled Rakhine State since August last year, mostly to neighbouring Bangladesh, following the latest round of sectarian violence allegedly committed by the Myanmar Army. – BERNAMA

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