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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nearly 400 Rohingya Rescued from Boat Drifting Off Bangladesh Coast

By VOA News April 16, 2020

At least 382 Rohingya refugees have been rescued off the coast of Bangladesh after drifting for several days aboard an overcrowded fishing boat.

Officials with Bangladesh's coast guard said the boat was spotted late Wednesday and brought ashore. Video footage taken by a local journalist showed a crowd of mostly women and children looking emaciated as they were helped off the boat.

The Rohingya are believed to have sailed from Bangladesh on a voyage to Malaysia but were turned away due to strict border controls because of the coronavirus pandemic. One coast guard official says the boat had been out to sea for about two months and that the passengers were starving.

In addition to the 382 survivors, at least two dozen Rohingya died during the voyage.

As many as 1 million Rohingya are living in cramped, squalid camps in southern Bangladesh, with the majority having crossed over from neighboring Myanmar to escape a brutal military crackdown in 2017.

Thousands of Rohingya over the years have attempted to escape the camps by boarding crowded boats bound for either Malaysia or Thailand.

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