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Rohingya Refugees Stranded at Sea Arrive in Indonesia’s Aceh Province

In the latest series of arrivals primarily originating from camps in Bangladesh, approximately 300-400 Rohingya refugees, including women and children, landed on beaches in Indonesia’s northeastern Aceh province on Sunday.

The refugees, arriving in two boats, recounted a perilous journey of six weeks at sea, facing a sinking boat with no remaining food or water. Local authorities in Aceh are deciding on support measures for the new arrivals, but recent attempts have been made to prevent refugee boats from landing, citing resource limitations in local communities.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) estimates that, before Sunday’s arrivals, around 1,200 Rohingya have landed in Indonesia since November. President Joko Widodo suspects human traffickers behind the influx and vows firm action.

The Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority, faced expulsion from western Myanmar in a 2017 military crackdown, seeking refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. The camps in Bangladesh lack access to jobs and education, prompting some Rohingya to attempt sea crossings to Indonesia or Malaysia.

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