• Jonathan Shiek

Hundreds of Rohingya Just Disappeared From A Refugee Camp In Indonesia

Hundreds of Rohingya are missing from a refugee camp called Lhokseumawe in Indonesia and are believed to have been trafficked to Malaysia, according to officials and other sources.

Almost 400 refugees arrived at the makeshift camp Lhokseumawe in between June and September last year, however only 112 remain.

According to Al-Jazeera, neither local authorities nor the United Nations could account for the whereabouts of the refugees from the stateless Muslim minority from Myanmar, who are feared to have enlisted traffickers to help them cross the Malacca strait into Malaysia.

“We don’t know yet where they went,” said Ridwan Jalil, head of the Rohingya task force in Lhokseumawe. “But they’ll escape if they can find any hole to leave because that is their goal.”

At least 18 Rohingya from the Lhokseumawe camp and more than a dozen suspected traffickers were recently apprehended by police, south of Medan city, a frequent staging point for illegal crossings into Malaysia, authorities said.

The refugees have been asked not to leave the camp, given the risks involved in making the journey, said the United Nations refugee agency.

An amount of 750,000 Rohingya were forced to flee a Myanmar military crackdown in 2017, which UN investigators said amounted to genocide. They fled across the border into Bangladesh’s southeast coastal district of Cox’s Bazar, where many ended up in sprawling refugee camps.

Since then, thousands have paid smugglers to get them out of Bangladesh, enduring harrowing, months-long sea journeys punctuated by illness, beatings by traffickers and near-starvation rations to reach Indonesia and Malaysia.

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