April 8, 2013
Bangladesh Navy personnel yesterday detained 21 Rohingyas near Saint Martin’s Island in the Bay of Bengal when they were going to Malaysia illegally in search of jobs.
They also detained three boatmen.
On information, a team of Bangladesh Navy conducted a drive near the island around 11:30am and seized an engine boat with 24 people on board.
The detainees are Rafiq, Rashid, Ismail, Sohel, Jamal, Shamsul, Musa, Shahid, Aiyub, Abdur Rahman, Sirajul Islam, Rafiq, Hamid, Javed, Hashem, Nur Alam, Ziaur, Ibrahim, Dwin Mohammad, Ansarul, Mozammel, Forkan, Tayeb and Siddique. They are aged between 20 and 40.
The detainees were later handed over to Bangladesh Coast Guard (East Zone).
Of the detainees, Rafiq, Sirajul and Rashid were the boatmen and inhabitants of Shah Porir Dwip in Teknaf upazila in Cox’s Bazar and the rest are residents of a Rohingya camp in Teknaf, said Lt Abdullah-al-Mamun, commander of Coast Guard, Teknaf Station.
Mamun said the Coast Guard informed Navy personnel about the matter and they conducted the drive.
“The detainees are being interrogated to know who were the people behind sending them to Malaysia illegally,” said Mamun.
Sending people to Malaysia through the Bay has now become a common phenomenon despite regular Coast Guard and Navy patrols in the sea. Frequent accidents are occurring in the sea due to those illegal and risky journeys.
On Friday evening, a group of 10 people set out for Malaysia from Teknaf on an engine boat, said sources, adding that the boat then capsized in the Bay.
Although nine of them could swim ashore, one Abul Kalam, 35, drowned.