Aceh, 4 Sha’ban 1436/22 May 2015 (MINA) – Muslim Rohingya migrants have expressed their gratitude for the shelter and food provided them by Indonesians, whose religious leaders have issued calls to avoid communal conflict like that forcing the minority to flee Myanmar.
Ramida, a 17-year-old staying at a shelter in Kuala Langsa, Aceh province, told Kompas.com on Friday, “they [the Acehnese] treated us like parents treat their children. We are grateful.”
Another Rohingya, Mohammad Hasan, expressed his relief that after months on a ship with limited supplies, they no longer had to worry about the lack of food.
“We were only given porridge once a day,” he recounted.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir told Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA), that currently the government’s main aim is to rescue the around 7,000 refugees believed to be on boats on the Andaman Sea, bringing them to shore.
An estimated 1,700 migrants have landed in Indonesia since a boat people crisis – involving Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants – started in Southeast Asia on May 1.
Malaysia and Indonesia announced Wednesday they had agreed to offer temporary shelter to the migrants – but only if the international community agrees to then resettle them after one year.
Officials from both countries have since clarified that they would shelter Rohingya for one year, while the Bangladeshis would be returned to their country. (T/P001/R04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)