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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    SE Asia migrant crisis: Violent clashes over lack of food and water leave seven dead

    South-east Asia migrant crisis: Violent clashes over lack of food and water leave seven dead, reports say

    By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts
    Updated 34 minutes ago

    PHOTO: Rohingyas including Muhammad Rafique (right) at Langsa, Aceh, show their UNHCR refugee cards. (ABC News: George Roberts)
    RELATED STORY: Bangladeshi boy, 14, kidnapped, forced onto Asian migrant boat
    RELATED STORY: More than 100 migrants found on southern Thailand island
    MAP: Bangladesh

    As hundreds of migrants who spent months at sea finally find help in Indonesia's Aceh, Rohingyas and ethnic Bengalis from Bangladesh have gotten into deadly fights over the lack of food and water.

    It is impossible to verify the accuracy of some of the claims due to the language barriers and differing accusations being made by ethnic groups who admit to having violent clashes but blame each other for starting it, but as desperation for food and water grew, at least seven adults reportedly died in the fights.

    A 21-year-old Rohingya man, Muhammad Rafique, who already has UN Refugee Status, said the Bengalis were the aggressors.

    "Bengali ... they said, you are Rohingya, they kill us, they kill us by the knife, by the hammer," he said.

    But Bengali Mohammad Abdur Rahim said it was the Rohingyas who started it.

    "Myanmar people do not give us any food any water, they are torturing [us] every day," the 23-year-old said.

    Boat turned away from Indonesian, Malaysian waters

    The clashes seem to have occurred after the asylum seekers left the waters off Thailand and were then abandoned by the people smugglers and ship's captain.

    From what those on board who can speak English said, three to four boats left from Bangladesh and Myanmar weeks ago.

    Off the Thai coast, the smugglers then transferred them all to one bigger boat, and later abandoned them.

    Last week they reached Indonesian waters but were rejected by the Indonesian navy.

    According to the passengers:

    • Three to four boats left Bangladesh and Myanmar up to two months ago
    • Off the coast of Thailand, smugglers transferred them all to a larger boat
    • At least some of the smugglers, and the captain, abandoned ship
    • The passengers, without training or guidance, attempted to reach Malaysia
    • As food and water ran out, violent clashes broke out, leaving seven dead
    • Another seven children reportedly died during the voyage
    • Last week they reached Indonesian waters
    • The Indonesian Navy gave them some supplies but turned them towards Malaysia
    • The Malaysian Navy also gave them supplies and turned them away
    • Some claim 100-200 people drowned in the entire ordeal, but this can not be verified
    • Indonesian fishermen rescued 677 people from the boat on Thursday

    Indonesia's foreign ministry spokesman, Arrmanatha Nasir, conceded the Navy had contact with a boat on Tuesday but said the people wanted to get to Malaysia so Indonesia gave them fuel, food and water.

    Indonesia's military spokesman Fuad Basya told the ABC the Navy escorted them out of Indonesian waters, with Mohammad Abdur Rahim saying the Indonesian Navy took them to Malaysian waters.

    Major General Basya told ABC News: "It's the military's responsibility to protect the country's territory."

    He added the navy would keep turning asylum seeker boats away unless directed otherwise.

    Once the boat reached Malaysian waters, the passengers met a similar response.

    The navy again provided supplies but refused entry to Malaysian waters.

    The boat, adrift at sea with no port of destination, began taking on water.

    It was Acehnese fishermen who rescued the 677 Rohingya asylum seekers and Bangladeshis and brought them to Langsa.

    PHOTO: Rescued migrants receive medical treatment upon their arrival in the fishing town of Kuala Langsa in Aceh province. (AFP: Chaideer Mahyuddin)

    'They were on the sea for four months, no food, no bedding'

    Many of those on board were dehydrated and malnourished and a number are still taking fluids through intravenous drips.

    Dr Iqbal Foriza, who is co-ordinating medical provision at the makeshift refugee camp, said 25 people were admitted to hospital with their bodies having gone into shock from the ordeal.

    "The worst is heavy shock, they were on the sea for four months, no food, no clean food, no bedding, that made the people dehydrated, and caused trauma," Dr Iqbal said.

    On a military camp bed last night, a Bangladeshi woman fanned her three-year-old daughter to keep away mosquitoes, which can be deadly in Indonesia.

    The tiny girl was still hooked up to a drip, but Dr Foriza said she was being monitored every three hours.

    The ordeal had some people rethinking their plans to get to Malaysia.

    "We [want to] go back to Bangladesh immediately. Please help," Mohammad Abdur Rahim said.

    Muhammad Rafique, a Rohingya, still wants to get to Australia via Malaysia, with the help of people smugglers.

    "First time I will go Malaysia, I will [collect] some money, pay the broker. After I go to Australia to study," he said.

    When the ABC asked him if he knew Australia did not accept people who came by boat he did not understand.

    PHOTO: Many of those on board were dehydrated and malnourished and a number are still taking fluids through intravenous drips. (ABC News: George Roberts)

    Australia urged to help ease crisis by taking more refugees

    Australia's former Ambassador to Thailand and Indonesia John McCarthy has said Australia cannot just be a witness to the crisis and needs to significantly increase its refugee intake.

    "It is a major gesture, we are a country that can afford to take refugees and it has to be bipartisan, if this is not bipartisan we're not going to get it up," he said.

    Mr McCarthy said Australia could afford to take in more refugees.

    "The only prospect I can see of Australia playing a constructive role is by saying that we will actually increase our intake of refugees above the 12,000 odd we take currently to a much larger number."

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  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Struggles similar to these coming to us sooner that we hope. We have to get our government to close our borders tightly this year, and loudly announce the same. I am afraid that has to be done before 2016. We, the voters, have treated this as a game for a quarter century, it is now time to be winners! You and I are stuck with trying to get D's and R's to make us winners now, but it is not likely. For our sake, I hope we do not re-elect D's and R's or elect a new dysfunctional bunch of them.

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