At least 100 people, among them refugees from Myanmar's Rohingya community, are missing after the vessel on which they were illegally traveling sank off the Bangladeshi coast, police said Wednesday.
The shipwreck occurred on Sunday morning and just six passengers survived, according to testimony from one of them, the police inspector of the southeastern Bangladeshi town of Teknaf, Mohammed Farhad, told Efe.
"Between 100 and 130 people were traveling on a small fishing boat. Approximately one third were Bangladeshis and two thirds were from Burma (Myanmar), many of them from the Rohingya community. They were heading to Thailand," Farhad said.
"The boat split apart and the people fell into the water in an area near the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The six survivors were found by local fishermen and one gave us this testimony at the police station," the police inspector said.
The minority Rohingya community, which is Muslim, consists of some 800,000 people in Myanmar, where they are not accorded any rights because they are considered to come from Bangladesh, and so they live as ex-patriots.
The U.N. said Tuesday that some 28,000 people have been displaced and "dozens" have died in recent days in the new episode of interreligious violence besetting the Muslim and Buddhist communities in the Rajine region, in western Myanmar.
Many of those people initially tried to seek refuge in Bangladesh, where it is estimated that several hundred thousand members of the Rohingya community live. EFE