Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bangladesh: Bangladesh navy rescues over 600 boatpeople in Bay of Bengal

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Bangladesh navy rescues over 600 boatpeople in Bay of Bengal
Written by Kaladan News 

Bangladesh navy rescued more than 600 boatpeople from a large trawler - carrying Burmese flag - adrift in the Bay of Bengal on November 17, while they were trying to go to Malaysia by sea route, said Noor Mohamed, a local from Teknaf town.

On being tipped off, a team of Bangladesh Navy – Durjoy - went to the deep sea and rescued 600 boatpeople or fortune seekers where the large trawler was waiting for passengers (voyagers) 50 nautical miles southeast of Saint Martin Island, according to Lt Commander Mostafa Kamal, who is in charge of the island's naval base and was on board Durjoy.

The 600 fortune seekers, including 20 women and children, were of Bangladesh and Burmese nationalities, Identities of the rescued could not be known immediately, Lt Commander Kamal said. “We detained 14 crew members of the wooden boat.”

“We expect to reach the shore in the early morning the next day (November 18) and the rescued fortune seekers will be handed over to Teknaf police,” said Lt Commander Kamal. But, Mukhter Hossain, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station, told that the rescued persons will be handed over to Patenga Police Station of Chittagong.

Official also said that a group of traffickers take the fortune seekers to locations around Bangladesh-Burma sea border where Burmese or Thai carrying flags trawlers wait to take them to Malaysia.

According to local sources, some big trawlers of Burma, Thailand wait at the far end of Bangladesh sea borders to pick up fortune seekers  or boatpeople for nearly two week or a month, to load the fortune seekers and then start their journey for Malaysia.

The traffickers –local - carry small groups or have 25-30 people by small engine boats,  to reach the large trawler, local sources more added.

A boatpeople said that the traffickers take 200,000 to 250,000 taka from a fortune seeker after reaching Thailand.

Mostly Rohingya Muslims are continue going to Malaysia from Arakan State, Burma  because of human rights abuses, harassments and have been denying the citizenship rights of Rohingya by the concerned authorities of Burma, said a Rohingya refugee elder on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, the registered or unregistered Rohingya refugees have been living in very inhuman condition in Bangladesh since over two decades, but they don’t see their future goals and durable solutions. So, Rohingya refugees are also going to Malaysia from the Bangladesh refugee camps for seeking best future , he further said.

Besides, hundreds of Bangladeshi people are leaving for Malaysia for seeking jobs by the sea route. If Bangladeshi people want to go to Malaysia by legal way, they will need more money. So, they are willing go to Malaysia from Bangladesh by risky boats, local people from Tekanf town said.

Most of the Bangladeshi fortune seekers from all over the country, arrived for searching traffickers to find the way to go to Malaysia by paying money. Nobody is hijacking or kidnapping anyone to send to Malaysia as the fortune seekers are looking way to go Malaysia with cheapest, said Hamid, a boatpeople watchdog from border area.

The fortune seekers are lying that they were kidnapped by traffickers to send to Malaysia, when they were arrested by authorities – Bangladesh or Thailand- to save them and not to stay in jail, Hamid more said.

Similarly, the fortune seekers trafficking network also said their contact groups are not doing like kidnapping people from Bangladesh as they are getting fortune seekers with money. So they didn’t do another crime like kidnapping, they are already working crime as trafficking people.