Rescued migrants in Aceh recount horrific journey

After being turned away by Indonesia and Malaysia, fighting broke out on board over food and water, claiming lives.

by

    After being turned away by both Indonesia and Malaysia, fighting broke out on board a migrant vessel carrying ethnic Rohingya and Bangladeshi Muslims over scarce supplies of food and water.

    Their accounts suggest people attacked each other with knives and hammers, and that many jumped into the water to escape.

    One of the migrants on board, 15-year-old Salmahan, told Al Jazeera that ethnic enmities could soon trump shared distress.

    "They said, 'You're Rohingya and we're Bengali. We're going to kill you'," he said.

    Twelve members of Salmahan's family were killed in the violence.

    After the fight, fishermen from the Indonesian province of Aceh found the boat in distress and mobilised as many vessels as they could find to rescue the survivors and take them to Langsa, an Indonesian town.

     "We fishermen have a code," a local by the name of Ridwan told Al Jazeera.

    "At sea you are all brothers and sisters, foreigners or Indonesians. So if someone is asking for help, we as fishermen have an obligation to help without looking at race, religion or anything."

    The fishermen were questioned by police for allegedly violating naval policies.

    International organisations estimate that thousands of people are still stranded at sea.

    They say the migrants are the victims of a game of political human ping-pong between Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, a game that is costing people their lives.

     

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Meet the deported nurse aiding asylum seekers at US-Mexico border

    Meet the deported nurse helping refugees at the border

    Francisco 'Panchito' Olachea drives a beat-up ambulance around Nogales, taking care of those trying to get to the US.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.