Twenty-six Rohingya refugees found alive at a Malaysian island after boat capsizes

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LANGKAWI: Twenty-six Rohingya refugees were found alive at Pulau Rebak Besar, Langkawi on Sunday (July 26) after their boat was thought to have capsized.

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One more was rescued from the sea by nearby fishermen nearby, also on Sunday.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) was alerted of the landing of the refugees at the island by fishermen late Sunday evening.

According to a source, 12 men, 10 women and four children were found on the island while the Rohingya rescued at sea was a man.

All 27 were later taken to the MMEA headquarters in Bukit Malut here for further action.

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) Langkawi chairman Datuk Chen Liau Wen said he was informed by a few angler friends that they saw a group of refugees land at the island while out fishing nearby.

“MCPF is very concerned with the repeated landing of Rohingya boats into Langkawi. We hope that strict action is taken on them and the tekong (boat skipper) under the law,” he said.

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Pulau Rebak Besar is the bigger of the two Pulau Rebak Islands with the smaller one called Pulau Rebak Kecil next to it, and there is a resort and a marina on the island.

The island is located southwest of Langkawi, off Pantai Cenang and is home to a small group of fishermen.

It has been reported earlier that 24 Rohingya were feared to have drowned when their boat capsized while attempting to land on one of the islands in Langkawi on Saturday(July 25).

One of them, a 27-year-old Rohingya man identified as Nor Hossain, told police after he was rescued that he was the only one among the group who managed to swim to shore.

A search and rescue operation was launched by the MMEA including sea and air assets to locate them.

Meanwhile, the MMEA will issue a statement at 2.00pm on Monday (July 27) at its Kedah and Perlis Headquarters at Bukit Malut here.

-The Star

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