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Children being treated today inside the people smugglers' camp

Thai Army Raids Traffickers' Border Camp, 366 Rohingya Held Captive

Thursday, January 10, 2013
PHUKET: Thai authorities raided a secret transit camp for Rohingya on the border with Malaysia today, apprehending 366 men, women and children and seven alleged people traffickers.

Sixty-two of those being held were aged under 15 with three babies less than a year old, and 11 women, local police said.

The raid is the latest development as thousands of Rohingya flee ethnic cleansing in Burma after being burned from their houses in what's called ''community violence.''

It came as an undercover Rohingya working with the Army bought two boatpeople for 95,000 baht in a ''sting'' in Padangnezar district, in the Thai province of Songkgla.

The captive Rohingya were being held in a remote hillside border camp near Malaysia and are still there today after last night's raid, with Thai soldiers recording their names.

Public Health medical teams were also examining the captives, said Lieutenant Colonel Katika Jidbanjong of Padangbezar Police Station.

One source told Phuketwan that the camp was just one of several on the border, and that the other camps contained larger numbers of people.

The ''sting'' operation was led by Kalam, who has a single name and is a member of the Rohingya National Organisation of Thailand.

''We began negotiating at the camp to buy two men for 95,000 baht about 2pm,'' he said. ''We had to wait until 8pm, when the brokers arrived. As soon as we met with them, the soldiers moved in.''

There were many checkpoints surrounding the hillside camp. Three brokers and four camp security guards were being held, Kalam said.

The issue of the Rohingya and Burma's continuing desire to expel them is now causing serious problems for Burma's Asean neighbors, Thailand, Malaysia and, to a lesser extent, Singapore.

A group of 73 men, women and children, apprehended on a boat off Phuket on New Year's Day, were swiftly trucked north to the port of Ranong, on the border with Burma, where they were placed on another boat heading south.

Colonel Manat Kongpan, who heads Thailand's Internal Security Operations Command, Fourth Region, said the families had immediately been placed on another vessel and ''helped on.''

At the same time, Human Rights Watch was making a plea for Thailand's Government to keep the Phuket boatpeople in Thailand to resolve their future.

It's not known whether today's raid was connected to the apprehension of the Phuket boatpeople, which received extensive media coverage, along with the arrival days earlier on the Malaysian holiday island of Langkawi of more than 500 Rohingya.

Colonel Manat said today that other boatloads of Rohingya had been apprehended and ''helped on'' since the Phuket families were sent south by sea on January 2.

He said that women and children were now frequently present on boats where once only men and teenage boys ventured out.

At least 10,000 Rohingya have been recorded as fleeing Bangladesh or northern Burma by boat in the first three months of the safe ''sailing season'' with many thousands more expected to flee in the next three months.

The issue is expected to be high on the priority list of Le Luong Minh of Vietnam who has just taken over as Asean Secretary General from Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

Four years ago yesterday, Phuketwan journalists working with the South China Morning Post newspaper in Hong Kong broke the news of secret ''pushbacks'' of Rohingya from Thailand.

Several hundred men and boys drowned before Thailand ended that policy and replaced it with the ''help on'' process.

Boatpeople intercepted off the Thai coast are now given food, provisions and fuel but told they must not land in Thailand. Malaysia appears to be the preferred destination.

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Through Thailland's "HELP ON" policy, all the landed Rohingya boat people fall at the hand of greedy human smugglers (the local Thai authority call them agent or guider to Malaysia).

May be concerned Thai authorities do not know the dirty money making project of Human smugglers or agent's hidden plan keeping the Rohingya victims at their secret concentration camps .The inmates are everyday inhumanly beaten to realize equal of 2000 USD as passage fee to Malaysia.Some victims die or become partly disable due to torture at secret camps.If the victims are failed to arrange demanded money,they are sold to fishing trawlers .
There are still many secret camps along Thai and Malaysia boarder where Rohingya boat people are kept as captives.
Thailand and international medias must get full access to this 366 unfortunate Rohingyas . The captives must be interviewed by the concerned parties.

Due to genocide in Arakan, the Rohingya flee their centuries old home land. Tens of thousands of Rohingyas were killed in their homeland . Some fleeing people die in remote jungle of Arakan and some die in the sea.
We have been asking international protection since June 2012 The Thein Sen government police, security forces and Aye Maung's RNDP muscle men have jointly been committing genocidal crimes against the Rohingyas for eight months. Rohingyas are not given National protection. So the UN must deploy peace keeping forces to protect the remaining Rohingyas. If Rohingyas get international protection and justice , no boat people and refugees will be seen.
I would also like to urge Thai government to grand shelter to the Rohingya boat people and UNHCR access .
I would also like to make" HELP ON POLICY" to be meaningful.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand,(BRAT) on January 10, 2013 20:20

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Bengalis from Bangladesh have been migrating illegally to neighbouring countries because of overpopulation (over 150 million) and no resources. They take the name of Rohingya to gain international sympathy once they cross the border. There are 12 to 17 million illegal migrants in India and over 1 million in Myanmar.

Posted by Ray on January 10, 2013 20:49


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