Published: 14:10, December 19, 2022 | Updated: 17:16, December 19, 2022
Over 100 Rohingya refugees rescued in Sri Lankan waters
By Reuters

This handout photograph taken on Oct 28, 2022, and released by Bangladesh Armed Police Battalion shows detained Rohingya refugees next to security personal after crackdown in Rohingya refugee camp in Ukhia. (BANGLADESH ARMED POLICE BATTALION (APBN) / AFP)

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka's navy has rescued 104 Rohingya adrift off the Indian Ocean island's northern coast, an official said on Monday.

Many members of Myanmar's Muslim minority risk their lives every year by attempting to reach Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia on rickety vessels, and their numbers have surged.

The origin and the intended destination of the Rohingya group were unclear

The origin and the intended destination of the Rohingya group were unclear. 

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A boat was first spotted by local fishermen, who informed the navy, which launched a search and rescue operation and eventually towed the vessel to a northern harbour on Sunday night, a Sri Lanka Navy spokesperson, Captain Gayan Wickramasuriya, said.

"They will be handed over to the police today," Wickramasuriya told Reuters. "This is not a criminal action so we will see how to proceed."

Of the group – which includes women and minors – an 80-year old man, one mother and her two children were admitted to hospital for minor sickness, Wickramasuriya said.

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More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar in 2017, many to neighboring Bangladesh.