Sittwe (Akyab)/Kuala Lumpur -- Two Rohingya boats with approximately 140 people on board have gone missing en route to Malaysia since they left Sittwe (Akyab) on March 24, reliable sources say.
One boat with 56 Rohingya people on board arrived in Malaysia on March 31, which the Malaysian Navy rescued and later handed to the Immigration Department (Read HERE). The 2 boats left from Sittwe's 'Thae Chaung' beach on the same day with this boat but have been missing since then.
"Earlier, we have come to know one boat reached to Malaysia on March 31. But 2 other boats with 140 people in total, mostly women and children, have still been missing. They have lost contacts with us and we don't know their whereabouts. Their relatives are extremely worried," said Mohammed (pseudonym), Rohingya in Sittwe, to RB News.
The people are leaving are mostly from IDP (Internally Displaced People) Camps in Sittwe, where more than 140,000 people have been forced to live apartheid condition since 2012. And so, more boats are likely to leave Myanmar in the upcoming weeks.
An internally displaced Rohingya in Sittwe said "we can't move anywhere. Our access to livelihoods has been barred. We can't work and have enough food to eat. We are hopeless and don't know when this condition is going to end. We have been forced to live in prison-like-camps since 2012.
"That's why those who have relatives in Malaysia are paying the agents and some properties to sell are selling them off so that they can pay the agents to leave for Malaysia. Two more boats are about to leave soon."
Sources say that each person leaving for Malaysia has to pay Kyat 700,000 to the agents and the agents, in turn, have to bribe the Myanmar Police or Security Force in Sittwe Kyat 10 Million per boat. And each boat can accommodate around 100 people on board.
The Rohingya people subjected to Genocide by the Myanmar military and Security Forces are fleeing the country for Malaysia, which they consider safe haven, through various other routes such as by lands across central Myanmar and Thailand.
About 700,000 Rohingyas have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh since last year and more people are still fleeing as the Genocide in Myanmar continues. Many of these survivors in Bangladesh are reported to have been fleeing the country from Cox's Bazaar and Chittagong districts.