Bangladesh boat carrying migrants sinks, many missing

TEKNAF, Bangladesh Wed Nov 7, 2012 6:27pm IST

TEKNAF, Bangladesh (Reuters) - A boat carrying about 110 Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from neighbouring Myanmar sank in the Bay of Bengal on Wednesday as they were heading to Malaysia and about half of them were missing, a Bangladeshi border force officer said.

The boat went down in rough seas off Teknaf, the country's southernmost town, on the Bay of Bengal, Lieutenant-Colonel Mohammad Jahid of the border guards force said.

"So far, 51 people have been rescued by coast guard, fishing boats and the border force's sea patrols," he told Reuters.

Jahid said search operations were proceeding for the others. No bodies had been recovered yet.

"We were heading to Malaysia for jobs but the boat suddenly went upside down and sank," survivor Jamir Hossain told Reuters.

"I floated for several hours before a fishing boat picked me up."

It was the second such accident in 10 days. A boat carrying about 130 people sank off Myanmar on October 28 and only a handful of people were rescued, Jahid said.

Another survivor of Wednesday's sinking, Nazir Ahmed, said the boat was crammed with people, most of whom had no travel documents and had each paid 22,000 taka for the journey to Malaysia.

"The boat was over-laden," Ahmed said.

Bangladeshis and members of Myanmar's Rohingya community, who face persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, often make the perilous journey by sea to Southeast Asia in search of work.

The stream of Rohingyas trying to leave Myanmar has intensified this year because of violence between the Muslim community in western Myanmar's Rakhine state and Buddhists.

Nearly 200 people have been killed in intermittent clashes since June and tens of thousands, most of them Rohingyas, have been displaced.

Myanmar regards the estimated 800,000 Rohingyas in the country as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denies them citizenship.

Bangladesh has refused to grant Rohingyas refugee status since 1992 and regularly turns back people trying to slip out of Myanmar. The United Nations calls the Rohingyas "virtually friendless". (Reporting By Mohammad Nurul Islam in Teknaf and Serajul Quadir in Dhaka; Writing by Anis Ahmed; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

India Economy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Defence Deal

Defence Deal

India nears $2.5 billion deal for Boeing military helicopters.  Full Article 

Rice Bucket Challenge

Rice Bucket Challenge

In India, rice replaces ice in bucket challenge  Full Article 

Power Crisis

Power Crisis

Indian power station coal stocks lowest since 2012 blackouts.  Full Article 

Bollywood Watch

Bollywood Watch

Movie Review: Raja Natwarlal.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

Reliance plans $13 billion ln projects including new refinery.  Full Article 

Indian Super league

Indian Super league

Del Piero signs for Delhi.  Full Article 

U.S. Open

U.S. Open

Federer serves up win over big-serving Groth.  Full Article 

Health Crisis

Health Crisis

Ebola outbreak reaches Senegal, riots break out in Guinea.  Full Article 

Ukraine Fighting

Ukraine Fighting

Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage