Monday, 17 June 2024

How a boat filled with Rohingya men, women, and children overturned

  • About 140 other ethnic Rohingya migrants were stranded on a fishing boat off the coast of Indonesia.
  • A 12-year-old girl and the other three ladies had been tortured by the captain and crew.
  • They had lived through nearly seven years in camps for refugees beset by violence there.

A 12-year-old girl and about 140 other ethnic Rohingya migrants were stranded on a fishing boat off the coast of Indonesia after they fled violence and fear in Bangladesh and Myanmar. She and the other three ladies and girls had been tortured by the captain and crew, who threatened to kill them if they disobeyed.

After spending a night in the captain’s bedroom, where she claims he and many other crew members had beaten and sexually assaulted her, the 12-year-old, known only as N, attempted to flee.

Rohingya migrants

N and the other Rohingya survivors had to migrate to Bangladesh, which is a neighbor, after being forced to escape attacks by the military of Myanmar. They had lived through nearly seven years in camps for refugees beset by violence there.

N, along with the other Rohingya on board, were going to have to fight for their lives once more—a fight they would ultimately lose. Around the coast of the province of Aceh in Indonesia, in March, 75 people were saved from the capsized boat by local fishermen and Indonesian officials. When the boat overturned, 67 more people—at least 28 of them children—died.

She and other Rohingya were transported across the Bay of Bengal by a fleet of boats that started their voyage in Bangladesh. The males were compelled into the boat’s cargo holds after the Indonesian captain and crew divided them from the women. Beaten people were those who objected. Even though nobody spotted a gun, the captain and crew informed them they were armed.

The three females came out of the captain’s chamber crying and unable to speak on the third night. In addition to smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol, the skipper and crew threatened to capsize the boat if the women didn’t comply. The ship pitched sharply, sending people flying and slamming into a wave.

Six persons were brought ashore in the morning by a tiny fishing boat. More passengers perished when the overturned boat toppled over again. Rain prevented passengers from becoming fatally dehydrated, but after another night, Rahena Begum’s 9-year-old daughter’s respiration stopped. It took the rescue ship around thirty minutes to eventually arrive.

The UNHCR reports that the bodies of 12 women and 3 children have since been found in Aceh. The captain, along with the rest of the crew, fled to Malaysia and is being sought by the police.

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