Mass graves found in Malaysia
The Malaysian home minister says mass graves have been discovered in the northern part of the country near camps belonging to human traffickers, with speculations that the sites may contain the bodies of Rohingya Muslims.
According to a Sunday report published by Malaysia’s English-language newspaper The Star, Zahid Hamidi said the graves were found in a region along the border with Thailand.
“But we don’t know how many there are. We are probably going to find more bodies,” Zahid was quoted as saying.
Earlier, the daily reported that police had found mass graves believed to contain the remains of about 100 migrants from the Rohingya Muslim community of Myanmar.
The graves were found in the town of Padang Besar and Wang Kelian in the border state of Perlis, Malaysian media reports said.
“So far, no details are available as it is believed police are in the middle of conducting the operation,” the paper quoted a source as saying.
Media reports said that, earlier this month, authorities in Thailand found several mass graves containing the bodies of dozens of migrants from the Rohingya community and Bangladesh in the state of Songkhla across the border from Perlis.
The sufferings of Rohingya Muslims
The development comes amid an international outcry over the situation of hundreds of Rohingya Muslim refugees who are thought to be adrift in South-East Asian waters.
Up to 2,000 migrants, often referred to as ‘boat people,’ are reportedly stranded in the Bay of Bengal, the South Asia region, with many of them at the mercy of human traffickers.
Most of the boat people are reportedly from the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine, where they are not recognized by the government in Myanmar as citizens and are referred to as “Bengalis” or illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The Rohingya Muslims face extensive discrimination and restrictions in Myanmar. Many of the Muslims now live in camps for the displaced, three years after scores of them lost their lives in acts of violence by local Buddhists. The turmoil forced more people to flee on boats.