Around 50 Rohingya land in North Sumatra


Sheer desperation: A file photo of Rohingya refugees standing on their capsized boat as rescuers throw a rope to them off West Aceh on March 21. Police say the latest group of around 50 arrived by boat in the Langkat area of North Sumatra. — AP

Around 50 Rohingya Muslims have arrived in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province, an official at the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said, the latest wave of arrivals who have drawn a sometimes hostile reception in the South-East Asian country.

UNHCR is coordinating with its local partners and authorities to gather more details on the group – who appeared to be made up of women and children – and to organise aid, senior communications assistant Yanuar Farhanditya said on Thursday.

Rohingya face persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar but refugees have experienced increasing hostility in Indonesia as locals grow frustrated at the numbers of boats arriving.

State news agency Antara quoted police as saying the latest group arrived by boat in Langkat area of North Sumatra on Wednesday and were found by the locals before being taken to a nearby clinic for health checks and given food and water.

In December, more than 140 Rohingya arrived in Deli Serdang, another area in North Sumatra.

Since last year, arrivals of Rohingya in Indonesia or neighbouring Malaysia, have increased, especially from November to April when the seas are calmer.

Over 2,300 Rohingya arrived in Indonesia last year, data from UNHCR showed, more than the combined total of arrivals in the previous four years. — Reuters

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