GEORGE TOWN: A total of 176 Rohingya detainees at the immigration detention centre in Relau, Bandar Baharu, in Kedah are still on the run, says Kedah police chief Comm Wan Hassan Wan Ahmad.
He said of the total 664 detainees at the centre, police have successfully recovered 352 of them and 136 are currently still in the camp.
“We were told that a riot took place at the immigration detention centre in Relau at around 5am on Wednesday (April 20).
“We believe the riot began as a protest by the more than 600 Rohingya detainees.
“When we received the information, we immediately carried out several operations in nearby areas.
“This is a joint effort between the Immigration Department, Kedah and Penang police,” he said.
Comm Wan Hassan said roadblocks were set up in nearby areas.
“There are four roadblocks set up at the Bandar Baharu area, five at South Seberang Prai and five more at Kulim area.
“We also have police on the ground patrolling.
“We believe that the detainees are not too far from the camp and we hope to recover them soon.
“Members of the public who notice suspicious people, probably barefoot, or those with information on the escapees should contact Immigration or the police as soon as possible,” he said.
Meanwhile, Comm Wan Hassan said the case will be investigated under Section 147 and 224 of the Penal Code.
“We have a team of 13 police officers who are carrying out an immediate investigation to find out the cause of the riot and prison break.
“We are not sure of the real cause yet but the element of dissatisfaction might be involved,” he said.
Comm Wan Hassan also confirmed that six detainees died while crossing the road at the North-South Expressway heading south, in Jawi.
“Six people, including two children, were killed while crossing the highway,” he said.
On Wednesday (April 20), a protest at around 5am at the detention centre by the Rohingya detainees quickly turned into a riot.
It is understood most of the Rohingya there were previously detained in operations by various agencies in Langkawi.