At least 47 corpses have washed ashore in Myanmar’s western state of Arakan (Rakhine) in the last few weeks, an advocacy group and villagers said Wednesday. Some were believed to be Rohingya Muslims trying to swim to shore, whilst others were Bangladeshi.
Arakan(Rakhine) State Minister Maung Maung Ohn had no word on the bodies but his office was checking into the report.
At least 47 bodies washed up on beaches and the mouths of rivers May 12-24, many so badly decomposed they were unrecognizable, said Chris Lewa of the Arakan Project, which has been monitoring activities in the isolated, northern tip of Arakan (Rakhine) for more than a decade.
Lewa – who provided a village-by-village breakdown and the dates each corpse was found – believes they drowned while trying to swim to shore.
Myanmar has denied blame for a humanitarian crisis that has gripped Southeast Asia since early May, with more than 4,600 desperate and hungry boat people rescued in five countries after a massive, regional crackdown on human trafficking prompted some captains to abandon their human cargo at sea.
The United Nations says around half those brought to land have been Rohingya, fleeing violence and discrimination in their predominantly Buddhist country.
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