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450 Myanmar asylum seekers reach Malaysia, 1 dead

/ 04:18 PM December 31, 2012

In this Nov. 11, 2012, photo, Muslim refugees who fled arson attacks that drove them from their neighborhood in the Myanmar port of Kyaukphyu in late October sit under makeshift shelters beside their flotilla of wooden fishing boats on a beach in Sin Thet Maw, Myanmar. Malaysian police said about 450 asylum seekers from Myanmar landed in Malaysia Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, after a dangerous boat journey that left one dead. AP PHOTO/TODD PITMAN

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia—Police say about 450 asylum seekers from Myanmar have landed in Malaysia after a dangerous boat journey that left one dead.

They are one of the largest groups of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims who’ve reached Malaysia this year after leaving their violence-scarred hometowns.

A police official on Malaysia’s northern Langkawi island says the asylum seekers arrived Sunday after a roughly two-week journey on a wooden boat.


One man drowned while trying to swim ashore, while the others are in police custody.

The official couldn’t say whether they’ll be permitted to stay. He spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because he couldn’t issue public statements.

The UN’s refugee agency has about 25,000 Rohingyas registered in Muslim-majority Malaysia. Some came this year following Muslim-Buddhist sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

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TAGS: asylum seekers, Malaysia, Myanmar
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