Bangkok, June 9 (IANS/EFE) Authorities in Myanmar have repatriated 150 illegal Bangladeshi immigrants rescued from boats abandoned by human-traffickers, a media report said on Tuesday.
The illegals are among the approximately 900 who were intercepted by the Myanmarese navy in recent weeks and housed in temporary shelters in Rakhine state, located near the border with Bangladesh.
The human-trafficking boats carry Bangladeshis and ethnic Muslim minority Rohingyas, who mostly live in Rakhine state but are persecuted by Myanmar’s authorities who consider them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
Rohingyas are neither accepted as citizens in Myanmar, where some million of them reside, nor in Bangladesh where around another 30,000 live in refugee camps.
The deportation took place late on Monday in Muangdaw after Myanmar and Bangladesh verified the origin of each illegal immigrant, according to Channel News Asia.
“If they are Bangladeshi, there is no doubt that we will take them. It’s a good gesture of Bangladesh and Myanmar, that we are coming to a consensus and we are taking over the Bangladeshis once they are verified,” said a Bangladeshi border guard.
Every illegal immigrant received $10 from the Bangladeshi government for their expenses back home, Channel News Asia added.
More than 5,000 people have disembarked in Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Thailand in May after their boats were abandoned by human-traffickers in the Bay of Bengal after Thailand cracked down on them.