Rohingya refugees tell how dozens were killed during a four-month trip to Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR  Survivors of a boat carrying 300 Rohingya Muslim refugees have told Malaysian authorities that dozens of people have died and their bodies were thrown into the sea in a four-month voyage.

The head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) described the incident that left 269 people dead on June 8 in Langkawi Island, Malaysia.

He said the Rohingya had been transferred to a "motherboard" by more than half a small ship by a voyage that began close to the Myanmar-Bangladesh border in February.

"I have been told there have been over 300 transfers," MMEA Director-General Mohamed Jubail Bin Mat Som said at a news conference Wednesday.

"But something's dead in the ocean. They're thrown up," he told Reuters, who later became ill without further explanation.

The Rohingyas embarked on a dangerous voyage south of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, losing hope of a better life in refugee camps in Bangladesh, where many fled their homes after the military. The sanctuary was later found. Cracks in August 2017.

The predominantly Muslim Malaysia is home to the second largest Rohingya refugee after Bangladesh, although their opposition to settling in the Southeast Asian country as a sick economy is growing and the coronavirus virus has driven people to a lesser degree.

The sailors of Langkawi were taken into custody and their future is uncertain.

Mohammed Jubil declined to comment on whether the prisoners were scheduled to return to sea when their boat was repaired, a report criticized by human rights groups said.

He said that about 500 Rohingyas remain in "Mother Boat 1" after being transferred to the sea.

"We can't figure out Mother Boat 1 ... We've been trying for two weeks, but we can't figure it out."

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