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14 people were killed by a ship carrying Rohingya refugees off the coast of Bangladesh

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — At least 14 people were killed and seventy others were rescued after a ship carrying Rohingya refugees drowned off the coast of Bangladesh, local authorities said.

Authorities in local Bangladesh said Tuesday morning that at least 14 people were killed while about seventy others were rescued in a shipwreck carrying Rohingya refugees off the coast of Bangladesh.

Coast Guard spokesman Hamid al-Islam told Agence France-Presse that about 130 people were on board the fishing boat that was trying to cross the Bay of Bengal heading to Malaysia. He added that seventy of those were rescued.

Many members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, 700,000 of whom fled Burma to Bangladesh for fear of violence in 2017, are trying to flee the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh with ships to Malaysia.

Hamid al-Islam explained that the ship is one of two that were taking this dangerous journey. “We found one and all of the refugees on board in the Cox’s Bazar camps, but we did not find any trace of the second ship,” he said, adding that “we will continue our operation.”

Searches are continuing

For his part, commander of the Coast Guard Naim al-Haq told Agence France-Presse, “So far we have recovered 14 bodies and rescued seventy people,” while search operations continue near San Martin Island in the Bay of Bengal.

One of the Coast Guard leaders, Faisal Hassan Khan, confirmed that “smugglers cheated” the migrants.

Malaysia is a favorite destination for the Rohingya and a large community of this minority resides. In the absence of employment and education opportunities in the Bangladesh camps, thousands of Rohingya have tried to relocate to it or to another country in Southeast Asia.

Last year, Bangladeshi security forces arrested more than 500 Rohingya in coastal villages and ships. At least seven smugglers were also killed in a shootout with police in 2019.

Smuggling increases between November and March, usually because the sea is safer for small fishing vessels used for these dangerous trips

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