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A Rohingya boy’s escape story

Photo by Waedao Harai

NARATHIWAT
_ He was 10 years old, but Rohingya Nu Rahasim decided to set a
journey to the sea for a better life after his parents were killed by
Myanmar soldiers.
The
migrant, his fate now in the hands of Thai officials and
international diplomats, was one of 139 Rohingya rounded up in
Songkhla’s Sadao district on Sunday, the third group arrested in the
district in less than a week.




On
Tuesday, he and 17 other Rohingya aged 9-12 were sent to a children
and family emergency home in Narathiwat’s Muang district for
temporary stay, pending police investigation. 
Speaking
through an interpreter, the boy recalled his journey and ordeal.  
The
youngest of a family of five, he lived with his parents and siblings
in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, where stateless Rohingya have
been subjected to various types of persecution.
The
boy said Myanmar security forces launched a violent crackdown on
Rohingya Muslims two months ago, including killing and rape, with the
aim of forcing the minority communities to leave the country.
According
to his story, Nu Rahasim’s parents and siblings all were brutally
killed by authorities. The orphaned Nu, who showed scars he said came
from beatings and slashes by Myanmar troops, then joined a group of
140 Rohingya who sought help from an affluent man in the
violence-plagued state, in the hope of getting out of the country.
The
group wanted to seek asylum in a third, predominantly Muslim country
and the man was provided what the Rohingya asked for: a boat to take
them across the sea to a new land and home – or at least a safe
haven.
Life
at sea was tough, said the boy. The 139 fleeing Rohingya drifted in
the middle of nowhere for two months before they arrived at Thailand,
although at the time they had no idea where they had arrived.
We
had to drink sea water to survive” Nu said. 
Once
in Thailand, an unidentified Thai man arrived and offered to take the
group to Malaysia, if they would pay him 150,000 baht each. It was
not clear to the boy how the two sides reached a deal. However, the
mysterious Thai man eventually led the asylum seekers to a second
human trafficking agent, who kept them in a large safe house, saying
they would have to stay there until they could be smuggled across the
border to Malaysia.
That
day never arrived. 
Nu
said all Rohingyas fleeing to Thailand wanted “patronage”
from Thais and would work for them in return. Under international
law, this is called bondage, and is considered slavery.
If
[Thai] authorities send us back, we all will be dead,” the child
said. “Even rich people and officials in Rakhine state supported
us and helped us [to escape].”
Nu Rahasim poses for a photo after he was sent to a children and family emergency home in Narathiwat. (Photo by Waedao Harai)


Source Bangkokpost: