Wednesday 16 August 2017

Mass graves discovered in abandoned human trafficker camps on Malaysia-Thailand border

An ethnic Rohingya child prepares to take a shower at a temporary shelter in Bayeun, Aceh province, Indonesia, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
An ethnic Rohingya child prepares to take a shower at a temporary shelter in Bayeun, Aceh province, Indonesia, Saturday, May 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
A Rohingya migrant child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, eats chocolate while queuing up with others for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, stand inside their temporary shelter inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, cries as a volunteer cuts his hair inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, takes a bath after a haircut inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, sits along with others as they wait for immigration identification inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
An Indonesian paramedic (L) administers an anti-tetanus serum to a Rohingya migrant, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (R), who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, stands nearby as her child holds a placard while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (L) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold a placard while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, reacts while taking a bath after a haircut, inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (L) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold placards while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (R) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold placards while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant woman, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, cries as she talks on the phone to her mother in Malaysia, inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
Rohingya migrants, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, queue up for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (L) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold placards while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (R), who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, stands nearby as her child holds a placard while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (L) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold placards while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, holds a placard with her child during photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (R) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold a placard while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant mother (L) and her child, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, hold placards while posing for photographs for immigration identification purposes inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 22, 2015. REUTERS/Beawiharta
A Rohingya migrant, who recently arrived in Indonesia by boat, has his head shaved by a fellow migrant inside a temporary compound for refugees in Aceh Timur regency, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 21, 2015.REUTERS/Beawiharta
Children attend a class on the Koran conducted by a Rohingya Muslim religious teacher at a refugee camp outside Sittwe, Myanmar May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A Rohingya Muslim woman washes clothes at a refugee camp outside Sittwe, Myanmar May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A Rohingya Muslim man carries containers of water in front of boats near a jetty at a refugee camp outside Sittwe, Myanmar May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
A Rohingya boy sleeps on the floor at a temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh province, Indonesia, Thursday, May 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Press Association

Malaysian police have discovered mass graves in more than a dozen abandoned camps used by human traffickers on the border with Thailand, where Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar have been held.

"These graves are believed to be a part of human trafficking activities involving migrants," Home Minister Zahid Hamidi told reporters.

He did not say how many bodies have been recovered.

Similar camps and dozens of remains were recovered in jungle camps across the border in Thailand earlier this month, where Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar had been held by traffickers until their families could pay for their freedom.

The migrants and refugees who have fallen victim to the traffickers are from Myanmar and Bangladesh, part of a wave of people who have fled their homeland in hopes of reaching countries like Malaysia where they hope to find work.

More than 3,600 people - about half of them from Bangladesh and the others minority Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar - have landed ashore in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand since May 10, and thousands more are believed to be trapped at sea, some in boats abandoned by traffickers amid a regional crackdown.

Mr Hamidi told reporters that police were trying to identify and verify "the mass graves that were found".

Police have found 17 abandoned camps that they believe were used by traffickers.

Authorities say they have known for years that the area on the Thai-Malaysia border was used to smuggle Rohingya Muslims, a persecuted minority in Myanmar, as well as Bangladeshis and other migrants, to third countries including Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim.

The graves discovered in Thailand earlier this month were mostly in southern Songkla province.

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