Malaysia Finds Mass Graves of Suspected Trafficking Victims

Malaysia Finds Mass Graves of Suspected Trafficking Victims

Kuala Lumpur: Mass graves believed to contain bodies of hundreds of migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been found in Malaysia, media reported said on Sunday. Police discovered 30 large graves containing the remains of hundreds of people in two places in the northern state of Perlis, which borders Thailand, the Utusan Malaysia newspaper reported.

The Star newspaper reported on its website that nearly 100 bodies were found in one grave on Friday. A police spokeswoman declined to comment saying a news conference on the issue would be held on Monday.

A police official who declined to be identified said police commandos and forensic experts from the capital, Kuala Lumpur, were at the site but it was not clear how many graves and bodies had been found. It was also not clear if the bodies were members of a Muslim minority from Myanmar known as Rohingyas, the official said.

Northern Malaysia is on a route for smugglers bringing people to Southeast Asia by boat from Myanmar, most of them Rohingyas, who say they are fleeing persecution, and people from Bangladesh seeking work. Smugglers have also used southern Thailand and Utusan Malaysia said police believed the discovery had a connection to mass graves found on the Thai side of the border this month.

Twenty-six bodies were exhumed from a grave in Thailand`s Songkhla province, over the border from Perlis, near a camp with suspected links to human trafficking. More than 3,000 migrants, most of them from Myanmar and Bangladesh, have landed on boats in Malaysia and Indonesia this month after a crackdown on trafficking in Thailand.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday pledged assistance and ordered the navy to rescue thousands adrift at sea.

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