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Myanmar authorities hold 93 Rohingya escaping displacement camp

By Clyde Hughes
Myanmar authorities hold 93 Rohingya escaping displacement camp
Palestinian students protest Myanmar's oppression towards Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, in Rafahu in southern Gaza on September 14, 2017. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/ UPI | License Photo

Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Myanmar authorities have captured a boat with nearly 100 Rohingya Muslims, who were escaping a displacement camp and heading to Malaysia.

Moe Zaw Latt, Myanmar's director of the government office in the coastal town of Dawei, said Tuesday the navy detained the boat and held those aboard after local fishermen reported a "suspicious" vessel, Iran's state-run Press TV reported.

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Officials said the 93 refugees on the boat came from a camp in Myanmar's Rakhine State, and would be sent back.

Thousands of Rohingya have been trapped in internal displacement camps since the start of violence in 2012. The crisis, though, increased over the past year at the hands of the Myanmar military and Buddhist mobs, some refugees have said.

RELATED Bangladesh scraps Rohingya repatriation plan

This month, Myanmar officials said authorities rescued and detained 106 stranded Rohingya Muslims from displacement camps in Rakhine State after they tried to reach Malaysia by boat, Radio Free Asia reported.

In that incident, the Rohingya captives spent about two weeks adrift a wooden vessel in the Andaman Sea offshore of Kyauktan township in Yangon region. Authorities said 64 men and 42 women on the boat that ran out of fuel at seas were temporarily staying in Kyauktan.

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The Rohingya population has been denied citizenship and freedom of movement in Myanmar because the government views them as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Myanmar is working on shutting down the displacement camps in Kyauktan and Myebon townships in an attempt to ease sectarian tensions between Muslims and Buddhists there.

RELATED Rohingya repatriation plan has no safety guarantee, experts say

The United Nations said this month more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh over what they consider genocide. Myanmar officials countered that its military forces have been fighting against terrorism and deny most of the claims of violence.

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