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More than 180 Rohingya refugees arrive on Indonesian beach


LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia (AP) — More than 180 disoriented Rohingya Muslims, some of whom needed medical attention, arrived in the early morning in Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, an official said Monday.

“From the information we received, the boat took them and told them that they have arrived at their destination and left them at the beach,” said Andy Rahmansyah, East Aceh police chief.

He said the authorities are still collecting more information and giving medical aid to some of the refugees.

Ali Hussein, one of the refugees, said the boat took them from Bangladesh before it fled and left them in the dark after the group disembarked to the beach.

“It was difficult there. When we were gathered, we got offered a rate for the boat and we agreed to go to a far place, whether it is Indonesia or Malaysia,” Hussein said.

The group of 184, including women and children, arrived by fishing boat at Kuala Matang Peulawi, a coastal area in Peureulak subdistrict in East Aceh.

More than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from Buddhist-majority Myanmar to refugee camps in Bangladesh after an army-led crackdown in August 2017. Myanmar security forces have been accused of mass rapes, killings and the burning of thousands of Rohingya homes.

Most of the refugees who left the camps by sea have attempted to reach Muslim-majority Malaysia, but many have ended up in Indonesia along the way.

More than 500 Rohingya landed in Aceh in 2022. The most recent group was in February, when 71 people landed at a beach in Aceh Besar district. In early January, 184 weak and hungry Rohingya refugees landed on Kuala Gigieng beach, also in Aceh Besar district.


Associated Press writer Edna Tarigan in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.