Boat with nearly 300 Rohingya refugees, woman’s body intercepted off Langkawi

Malaysian authorities yesterday intercepted a boat with nearly 300 Rohingya refugees in the waters off Langkawi island. 

The KM Kimanis boat was located at 5am, authorities said. Fifty-three of them had jumped into the water and swam to shore when they saw authorities approaching. They were subsequently apprehended by maritime officials on land. 

Another 216 refugees and a woman’s body were found on the damaged boat. The body has been handed over to the police and all refugees taken to the Kem Bina Negara Wawasan (Nation Building Camp).

Authorities suspect the boat was damaged on purpose to avoid deportation. The National Security Council had allowed the boat to dock at the Teluk Ewa jetty on humanitarian grounds. 

Officers from the Armed Forces and the local police department were also involved in the operation. They did not disclose where the boat came from. 

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees sought asylum in Malaysia as of April this year.

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