Survivor recounts how, with 58 already dead, they overpowered the traffickers and took control of the boat and their destiny
The boat carrying more than 400 Rohingyas, which landed in Bangladesh in the early hours of April 16, had experienced a dramatic mutiny 30 hours earlier.
In that mutiny, four of the 11 Rakhine traffickers were killed, five were rescued by another boat, and two traffickers, including the captain, were kept hostage to steer the trawler back to Bangladesh.
In exclusive testimony, a survivor of the ill-fated journey explained how the failure to land in Malaysia, despite three attempts, led a group of 17 Rohingya men to confront and overcome the traffickers.
The increasing death toll as well as the insufferable conditions on board were also key factors.
The magnificent 17
The 17 men had been “volunteers” until the moment of mutiny. They were needed by the traffickers to carry out menial tasks.
Five had been detailed to do the cooking. The others did an assortment of tasks, including helping people who had grown weak, and taking care of the disposal of Rohingya men and women who had died by throwing them overboard.
Hell on water
After the death of the 58th person — eight women and fifty men — the volunteers asked the traffickers to let them land anywhere they could.
They argued that they had been misled since the first week of departure about how long the journey would take, and it had already been over 50 days.
Food and water had been woefully insufficient, resulting in starvation. They also could not tolerate the daily beatings that were handed out. People were beaten with iron rods, sticks, and belts.
Sep 25, 2020Seeking a solution to the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh has called for solidarity and cooperation with each other to achieve peace and security in Asia, making it a harmonious region of lasting peace and common prosperity. “We believe that peace and security in Asia can be achieved through dialogue and cooperation, where all states coexist peacefully […]
Sep 01, 2020