94 Rohingya refugees stranded in Indonesian waters
Authorities in Aceh province coordinating with various parties on rescue mission
At least 94 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are stranded off Seunuddon beach in Aceh, Indonesia, police said Wednesday.
They were found by three local fishermen who claimed to see passengers in a wrecked motorboat, barely staying afloat, and crying for help.
Saiful Bahri, head of the local police, said the boat was still in the open sea, and a joint force was coordinating with various parties over a rescue mission.
Authorities are planning to evacuate and take the refugees to an immigration warehouse in North Aceh. “We are ready, and stand on guard at the beach," Bahri told Anadolu Agency.
The rescued refugees consist of 15 men, 49 women, and 30 children.
Meanwhile, humanitarian agency Fast Response Action in Aceh also visited the location to provide assistance.
“Our crews are assessing the current situation,” said Husaini Ismail, an agency official.
Known for its beaches and diving sites, Aceh is a semi-autonomous Indonesian province on the northwest tip of Sumatra island.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.