Indonesia Rescues 200 Boat People Thais 'Left to Die'

Refugees say Thai military towed them to sea, set them adrift
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 3, 2009 8:19 AM CST

(Newser) – The Indonesian navy has rescued 200 more Burmese refugees who say the Thai military abandoned them to die at sea three weeks ago, the Daily Telegraph reports. The refugees, from Burma's persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority, say their motorless wooden boat was part of a flotilla of nine, containing more than 1,000 people, towed out to sea and cut loose without food. 

The refugees, who say 20 of their number did not survive the ordeal, are recovering in the hospital in Sumatra. Many bear the marks of beatings they say were carried out by Thai soldiers. The Thai military denies abandoning refugees at sea, but that denial has been undercut by photographic evidence and the testimony of hundreds of survivors. The Indonesian navy is monitoring the waters off Sumatra for any sign of the other boats.