At least 80 Rohingya detained in Myanmar
Malaysia-bound group abandoned in Mon state by traffickers, security sources say
More than 80 Rohingya people seeking to travel by boat to Malaysia have been detained in southeastern Myanmar after traffickers abandoned them, a security source told AFP on Saturday.
The group, which included women and children, had been detained by authorities on Friday near Thanbyuzayat town in Mon state, a security source who asked not to be named told AFP.
"They were hiding near rubber farms after the boats that they took from Rakhine state left them," the source said, adding that traffickers had promised to take them to Malaysia.
Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state in Myanmar are widely regarded as illegal immigrants in the Buddhist-majority country and have long faced discrimination, been denied citizenship, healthcare and education.
Muslim-majority Malaysia is a favoured destination for Rohingya fleeing persecution.
An investigation is ongoing, and it is unclear whether the group will face criminal
charges in Myanmar for leaving Rakhine.
Rohingya people convicted of violating immigration laws can face two years of jail in Myanmar.
Officials with the anti-human trafficking department in Yangon and the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, declined to comment on the case.
There are also reports that a Myanmar navy vessel had found 120 Rohingya people on a boat near Mudon township in Mon state, the source said.
A Myanmar military crackdown in 2017 forced some 800,000 Rohingya to flee Rakhine for Bangladesh following widespread accounts of murder, arson and rape.
Amnesty International likens their living conditions in Rakhine to "apartheid".
Following the mass exodus, Myanmar is facing genocide accusations at the United Nations' top court.
Myanmar has been in chaos since a coup in February last year. More than 2,400 civilians have been killed and thousands more detained, according to a local monitoring group.