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Human Traffickers Demand Ransom for Release of Rohingya Boat Hostages

By Rohingya Mirror

Maungdaw, Arakan State (Rohingya Vision) – Some human traffickers are holding many Rohingya people as hostages on a boat anchored in the Bay of Bengal off the coast of Kyauk Pandu village, southern Maungdaw Township, according to the reliable sources.

It has been learnt that the people smugglers are now demanding ransom from the relatives of the respective victims for their releases.

“A boat has anchored off the coast of Shitaaf (Kyauk Pandu) and been floating in the sea for weeks. There are many victims held on the boat. The victims that are able to pay ransom to the smugglers are released and sent to the coast. Those who can’t are continuously being tortured on the boat.

Similarly, on May 20, the two human traffickers, Belal and Zahid Hussein, hail from ‘Pa Nyaung Pin Gyi (Daang Khali)’ village, secretly shifted 20 people from the boat to the village. Now, they are held at the residence of Ismail, a co-villager and relative of Belal, in the same village. The traffickers are now demanding Kyat 250,000 from each of the victims for release.

Since they are unable to pay the amount, they are being tortured” said an elderly local asking not to be named.

The village administrator, Montaz Ullah, has full knowledge of holding these people as hostages. However, since the administrator himself involved in human trafficking and receive his shares of money from the traffickers, he is pretending as if he doesn’t know anything about the hostages held in his village” he continued.

The authorities have allowed the boat to set off from the coast in southern Maungdaw a few weeks ago after taking bribes from the human traffickers. However, due to the crackdown on human trafficking in Thailand and Malaysia, the boat has anchored in the Bay of Bengal without moving further.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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