Apr 11, 2011YANGON - MYANMAR has detained 146 boat people from Bangladesh after they were dumped on a beach by traffickers who told them they were in Thailand, an official said on Monday.
'They are in the Irrawaddy region under investigation,' said the Myanmar government official, who asked not to be named.
He said more than 80 of the detainees were Rohingyas, a Muslim group living primarily in Myanmar's western Rakhine state who are described by the United Nations as one of the world's most persecuted minorities.
The group, found on a beach in late March, said they had paid to be taken from Bangladesh by boat to Bangkok and were told they had arrived in the Thai capital, he said.
'They will be charged under the immigration act. For the Rohingya they will be sent back to Maungdaw in Rakhine State. The others will be sent back to Bangladesh,' the official said.
As many as 300,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they live in 'primitive and squalid conditions' in both official and makeshift refugee camps, according to US-based Human Rights Watch. -- AFP