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The dark side: ''Rescued'' Rohingya in Pedang Besar last night

Traffickers' Camp Raided, Rohingya 'Rescued' as Thailand Goes Over to the Dark Side

Monday, January 27, 2014
PHUKET: A total of 532 Rohingya were ''rescued'' yesterday from a secret jungle traffickers' camp with their fate uncertain because of the lack of independent scrutiny and official secrecy surrounding their future.

The word ''Rohingya'' is now being expunged in Thailand as it is in Burma with Immigration officials describing the occupants of the camp as ''Burmese Muslims.''

One Rohingya spokesperson said today: ''Thailand has gone over to the dark side.''

Isma-Aen Mat-Adam of the Rohingya Help Network in Thailand said: ''Survivors tell us many people have died and others are raped in the jungle camps. We are unable to confirm independently whether or not these things happen.''

The Immigration raid on the secret jungle camp, close by the village of Baan Hau Kawn near Sadao in Songkhla province, took place from 1pm yesterday with 13 women and 21 children among the 532 ''Burmese Muslims'' now in custody.

The men are being held at Pedang Besar, on the border with Malaysia.

The raid comes almost exactly 12 months after a series of raids on similar camps and the apprehension of Rohingya at sea led to more than 2000 people being held indefinitely in Thailand until ''escapes'' and ''deportations'' saw most of them evaporate.

Renegade officials are alleged to have conveyed many of the Rohingya into the hands of traffickers who traded them to Malaysia at about 50,000 baht a head.

The Superintendent of Immigration in Songkhla, Colonel Kan Tammakasem, oversees three detention centres in the province. He said today that the ''Burmese Muslims'' would be ''deported back to Burma.''

Colonel Kan said the women and children ''rescued'' in yesterday's raid would meantime be taken to a family shelter in Songkhla.

Phuketwan was not able to contact General Panu Kerdlabpon, Commander of the Immigration Bureau in Thailand, to ask whether more camps would be raided, as happened last year.

Isma-Aen Mat-Adam said today: ''We desperately need independent organisations to become involved in what is happening to the Rohingya. The 'solution' in Thailand is different now.

''Early last year, the Rohingya were arrested and placed in Immigration. There were updates on their condition and what was planned for their future.

''Now Thailand has gone over to the dark side. We no longer know what's going on. Survivors tell us of deaths and rapes taking place in the secret camps more often than before.''

In separate visits close to secret camps patrolled by armed guards, reporters from Phuketwan and Reuters late last year encountered escapers who described perilous conditions, with people beaten to extort money from relatives in harrowing telephone conversations.

''Thailand's government has failed to sort out this problem,'' said Isma-Aen Mat-Adam. ''The present 'solution' for Rohingya in Thailand is worse in the dark.''

Officials in Burma continue to give tacit approval to a campaign of ethnic cleansing that denies the existence of the Rohingya and labels them ''Bengalis'' instead.

Waves of violence over the past 18 months have seen greater numbers of men, women and children forced to put to sea in search of sanctuary.


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This whole thing just outright stinks!...why in the world is this continuing to go on here?

Posted by sky on January 27, 2014 17:26

Wednesday July 17, 2024
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