This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019
Advertisement

Discovered: 139 grave sites and 28 abandoned detention camps used by people smugglers

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said it remained unclear how many bodies were buried.

A Malaysian Forensic team personnel places bags of human remains found at the abandoned camps for transportation from the Malaysia-Thailand border in Wang Kelian.
A Malaysian Forensic team personnel places bags of human remains found at the abandoned camps for transportation from the Malaysia-Thailand border in Wang Kelian.
Image: Apexchange

MALAYSIAN POLICE SAY that they have found 139 grave sites and 28 abandoned detention camps used by people-smugglers and capable of housing hundreds, laying bare the grim extent of the region’s migrant crisis.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said it remained unclear how many bodies were buried in the inaccessible area of mountainous jungle along the Thai border.

But the findings appeared to indicate a system of camps and graves larger than those discovered by Thai police in early May, a finding which ignited regional concern about human-smuggling and -trafficking.

The Malaysian discovery follows earlier denials by the government — long accused by rights groups of not doing enough to stop the illicit trade — that such grisly sites existed in the country.

“(Authorities) found 139 suspected graves. They are not sure how many bodies are inside each grave,” Khalid told reporters in the border town of Wang Kelian.

“They also found 28 detention camps.”

“It’s a very sad scene… to us even one is serious and we have found 139,” Khalid said.

Malaysia Rohingya Boat People Source: Apexchange

The police chief also vowed to find the culprits involved in the crime.

Bodies were being exhumed and police have released no information yet on causes of death.

Khalid said the largest of the 28 camps could hold up to 300 people, another had a capacity of 100, and the rest about 20 each.

By comparison, Thai police have said they found a half-dozen jungle camps and more than 30 bodies so far on their side.

Thailand was previously a major people-smuggling route to Malaysia, which is the preferred destination of migrants from Bangladesh and from Myanmar’s oppressed Rohingya minority.

Malaysia Grave A Malaysian police officer stands guard at an outpost before the entry point to the Malaysia-Thailand border in Wang Kelian. Source: Apexchange

But a Thai crackdown launched after graves were found there triggered a regional boat people crisis as nervous traffickers abandoned overloaded vessels carrying the starving migrants.

After initially turning boatloads away, Malaysia and Indonesia last week bowed to international pressure to accept the boat people temporarily.

Rights groups say thousands more men, women and children may still be at sea.

© – AFP 2015

Read: Ireland has agreed to accept more migrants than originally planned

Read: That ‘unwanted’ migrant boat nations had been turning away has been found

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

AFP

Read next:

COMMENTS (3)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel