Thailand arrests over 150 Rohingya



AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Published — Tuesday 15 January 2013

Last update 14 January 2013 9:39 pm

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

BANGKOK/LAIZA, Myanmar: Thailand arrested and pledged to deport more than 150 Myanmar Rohingya migrants discovered in a hidden camp near the country's southern border with Malaysia, police said yesterday.
The 71 men and 85 women and children were found on a rubber plantation in Songkhla Province, local police colonel Krisakorn Pleetanyawong said, four days after some 400 Rohingya were discovered in another raid in the province.
"They will be treated under the law as illegal immigrants and will be deported," he told AFP, adding that a Thai man had also been arrested on suspicion of violating immigration law.
Thousands of Rohingya, a Muslim minority group not recognized as citizens in Myanmar, have fled communal unrest in the country's western Rakhine state, heading to Thailand and other countries.
Rights groups decry Thailand for failing to help Rohingya migrants who reach its territory, instead pushing them back to Myanmar or into neighboring countries including Malaysia, which offers sanctuary to the minority group.
Human Rights Watch has called on Thai authorities to allow the United Nations' refugee agency access to the Rohingya before taking action to deport them.
HRW Thailand researcher Sunai Phasuk said women and children were increasingly among boatloads of Rohingya fleeing Myanmar.
"It appears that the families are being uprooted in their homeland and they have to seek somewhere safe to stay," he told AFP.
The UN has urged Myanmar's neighbors to open their borders to people escaping a wave of communal violence in Rakhine.
Clashes between Buddhists and Muslims have left at least 180 people dead in the state since June, and displaced more than 110,000 others, mostly Rohingya.
Myanmar views the roughly 800,000 Rohingya in Rakhine as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants and denies them citizenship.
Although tensions have eased since a fresh outbreak of killings in October, concerns have grown about the fate of asylum-seekers setting sail in overcrowded boats.
Rebels say 3 dead in Myanmar strike
Meanwhile, Kachin rebels in Myanmar said three civilians were killed and six wounded yesterday in the first government attack on their stronghold, as fighting escalated in the country's last active civil war.
Three shells landed in the centre of Laiza, a town on the northern border with China that serves as headquarters for the Kachin Independence Army, said Colonel James Lum Dau, spokesman for the KIA's political wing.
"This is the first time they have directly bombarded Laiza," he told AFP.
The KIA said the victims of the early morning strike included a 15-year-old boy and a 76-year-old man.
A video contributor to AFP saw three bodies after the shells landed near one of the town's main roads, in a densely-populated area of wooden and concrete homes and small shops with no obvious military targets.
People were going about their daily chores when the attack happened, causing panic and leaving residents fearful and weeping, he said, adding that two small children were among the wounded.
The shelling came after the US and UN condemned the army's use of air strikes in an upsurge of fighting since December that has raised questions over the government's commitment to reform after a transition from military rule.
Myanmar presidential spokesman Ye Htut told AFP that he had received no information about the attack and said the army did not "intentionally" target civilians.
Around 20,000 residents and 15,000 displaced people are thought to be in Laiza, he said, adding that there was "nowhere to go" except to China, which in August pushed several thousand refugees back into Myanmar.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced in Kachin state since June 2011 when a 17-year ceasefire between the government and the KIA broke down. The total number of casualties is unknown.
Matthew Smith of Human Rights Watch said there was concern that further fighting could cause "a large outflow of refugees," but that authorities in China's Yunnan province could attempt to block them.
"There has been some indication that they are planning to do the right thing and provide temporary protection, but until we see some action on the ground, that remains a concern. It is potentially tens of thousands of asylum seekers," he said.
An increase in fighting has cast doubt over a peace process seen as key to the country's emergence from decades of junta rule.
Myanmar has struck tentative ceasefires with most of the other major ethnic rebel groups, but several rounds of talks with the Kachin have shown little tangible progress.
President Thein Sein defended the army's response to the Kachin rebellion in comments reported in state media on Friday, saying the army had done everything possible "to make positive contributions to the peace process."
Some experts have however raised questions over the level of control Thein Sein, a former general, exerts over army units in Kachin after an order to end military offensives in December 2011 was apparently ignored.
He since said that the military only acted in self defence.
The army and the rebels have traded claims over a helicopter crash last week which killed three army personnel. State media put the incident down to engine failure, rebutting KIA claims to have shot it down.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN Abdullah Al- Muallami unveiled a beautifully framed old kiswa (covering) of the door of the Holy Kaaba at one of the newly refurbished halls of the world body. The...
A policeman was shot dead by an unknown gunman in Qatif in the Eastern Province on Tuesday night.According to a spokesman of the Eastern Province police, the firing took place at 11:30 p.m. in a suburb called Al-Jishi.The targeted police officer was...
JEDDAH: Jeddah Show, one of the many events of Jeddah Summer Festival 36, is attracting a large number of visitors. The sound-and-light show is being run at the Jeddah International Exhibition and Convention Center.The show tells the story of the Bri...
JEDDAH: The Riyadh Traffic Department carried out extensive campaigns on the main streets, intersections and squares in the city to boost traffic safety levels and discourage bad driving.During the first 72 hours of the campaign, traffic personnel re...
RIYADH: One of two women infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) died here in Riyadh, while the other patient is being treated at a hospital in Al-Kharj, some 60 km from the capital. Since June 2012, the Ministry of...
AL-AHSA: Approximately 20,000 tons of Al-Ahsa dates are planned to be marketed abroad during the new dates season.Muhammad Ismail, director general of the King Abdullah City for Dates (KACD), said: “The authorities in the city are planning to increas...
JEDDAH: Al-Bagdadiya neighborhood residents in Jeddah are living in a state of worry because of 20 abandoned houses, which serve as hideouts for criminals.Residents said some houses are on the verge of collapse and have turned into shelters for crimi...
JEDDAH: A committee consisting of representatives from the Hail governorate, municipality, health department and the Saudi Food and Drugs Administration (SFDA) has ordered the closure of a restaurant in the city’s industrial area.Twelve people suffer...
The board of the Saudia Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization has announced that mandatory application of the regulations on new tires produced or sold in the Kingdom will commence in November this year.The board explained that the technical...
JEDDAH: The number of people with mental health issues or depression is increasing in Saudi Arabia due to urbanization, marital or relationship problems, and not being able to keep up with rapid progress. A Saudi mother said that her daughter suffers...
JUBAIL: Jubail beaches are expected to receive many tourists during September as a large number of people usually head to the city once the summer gets cooler to enjoy their holiday here.As part of the beach preparations for this season, the Social S...
RIYADH: More than 50 percent of vehicle users in the Kingdom are not satisfied with the after-sales service of auto agencies in the Kingdom.In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MCI) to evaluate the performance of automobile...
JEDDAH: The Appeals Court has upheld the verdict issued by a specialized penal court which sentenced Dr. Said bin Zair to four years in prison from the date of his arrest in 1428.According to the ruling, the academician is also banned from traveling...
JEDDAH: Health authorities in the Eastern Province are expected to issue a decision soon against four Saudi nurses accused of “negligence” for an incident which led to the amputation of the hand of a Saudi girl after they tried to insert a needle in...
JEDDAH: The Jeddah municipality has closed down a popular restaurant following the discovery of a rat rummaging through food items.The rat act was captured on video and posted on social media websites. It went viral, prompting the authorities to laun...

Stay Connected

Facebook