Malaysia buries 21 human trafficking victims
Muslim burials held for suspected Rohingya and Bangladeshi victims; remaining 85 bodies to be buried after autopsies

Malaysian authorities provided Muslim burials Monday to 21 human trafficking victims believed to be Rohingya and Bangladeshis following the discovery of more than 100 bodies in graves near the Thai border.

Of the bodies, nineteen who were men were buried in a large grave and the remains of two women in a nearby grave, according to state news agency Bernama.

On June 9, police said they had recovered the remains of 106 suspected human trafficking victims from gravesites found in the town of Padang Besar along the country’s northern border with Thailand.

The rituals Monday were led by northern Kedah state’s Islamic Religious Council started at 9.30 a.m. (0230GMT) with the attendance of residents of Kampung Tualang and other villages.

The bodies were transported in five police trucks to the cemetery – guarded by a police presence – after undergoing autopsies.

The agency cited Kedah’s chief minister, Mukhriz Mahathir, as saying Sunday that burial rituals would gradually be held for the remaining 85 bodies after they went through autopsies.

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar had earlier said that security forces usually did not patrol the hilly northern border area, but began to focus there after Thai police found dozens of bodies belonging to Rohingya Muslim and Bangladeshi migrants in May.

Following the discovery of human trafficking camps in southern Thailand in early May, authorities launched a crackdown that led to smugglers fleeing and boatloads of migrants then turning up on Thai, Indonesian and Malaysian shores, while thousands more remained at sea.

Since a tri-nation conference on the Southeast Asian boat people crisis May 20, Indonesia and Malaysia have said they will take the Rohingya in for one year, ascertain which are asylum seekers and which are economic migrants, and then the international community will find homes for them.

Last Modified: 2015-06-22 10:58:31
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