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2,000 migrants arrive in Malaysia, Indonesia

The majority of migrants are Rohingya, a persecuted ethnic Muslim group.

By
Ed Adamczyk
Fishing boats, such as these in Bangladesh, are often used by migrants to escape from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia and Indonesia. Over 2,000 migrants came ashore Sunday and Monday in Malaysia and Indonesia, a sign that attempted escapes from Myanmar and Bangladesh are increasing. Photo Courtesy of U.N. News Center.
Fishing boats, such as these in Bangladesh, are often used by migrants to escape from Myanmar and Bangladesh to Malaysia and Indonesia. Over 2,000 migrants came ashore Sunday and Monday in Malaysia and Indonesia, a sign that attempted escapes from Myanmar and Bangladesh are increasing. Photo Courtesy of U.N. News Center.

LANGKAWI , Malaysia, May 11 (UPI) -- Over 2,000 migrants came ashore Sunday and Monday in Malaysia and Indonesia, a sign that attempted escapes from Myanmar and Bangladesh have increased.

The migrants are predominately of the Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim ethnic minority of Myanmar and Bangladesh, and came ashore in six overcrowded boats. Some were also Bangladeshis, Malaysian and Indonesian authorities said Monday, adding {link:582 came ashore on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

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Another 1,081 arrived on the beach of a hotel on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi, and about 400 were rescued early Monday after their boat was found drifting near the Indonesian province of Aceh. Each of the boats were overcrowded and some migrants died before they reached shore, authorities said, adding human traffickers ordered some of the migrants to swim ashore, and some boats ran out of fuel and were towed to land. In the case of those who arrived on Langkawi, a hotel manager said local hotels provided the refugees with food and water.

The Rohingya are regarded by the Myanmar government as non-citizens and refers to the group as Bengalis, implying they belong in Bangladesh, which also rejects their citizenship claims and keeps over 200,000 Rohingya in refugee camps. About one million live in Myanmar, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday at least 25,000 attempted to leave Myanmar and Bangladesh by boat in the first quarter of 2015, twice the number as last year.

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