Police in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady region Thursday night apprehended 30 young Rohingya Muslims from northern Rakhine state for failing to have approved travel documents as they headed to the commercial city Yangon, believing that some were going to leave the country, local officials said.
The group intercepted by Ayeyarwady region’s Ngapudaw township police at Yaykyaw village tract in Ngayoke Kaung town included 20 women and mostly underage children, and all ranged in age from four years old to 27 years old, with most being around 15 years old, officials said.
Authorities said the Rohingya came from Thetkeibyin and Thaechaung villages in Rakhine’s Sittwe township.
“They include nine adult males, one young boy, and 20 females,” Yaykyaw village tract administrator Myint Soe told RFA’s Myanmar Service.
Authorities at the Ngayokekaung town police station are questioning the members of the group, he said.
“They said they came from Sittwe by boat,” Myint Soe said. “They landed at the Ngayokekaung Bridge near Yaykyaw, and then they were all squeezed into a [Mitsubishi] Pajero [SUV] to proceed.”
The Rohingya told police that they paid between 500,000 and 700,000 kyats (U.S. $ 3,900-U.S. $5,460) to traffickers who arranged their transportation to Yangon where some of them intended to stay for work and others planned to sail to Malaysia.
Myo Min Tun from the General Administration Department of Ngayokekaung township said the Rohingya, who are prohibited from traveling outside certain areas without official permission, could be charged.
“Currently, the top management decision is to transport them to Ayeyarwady region’s capital Pathein after the investigation,” he said. “We don’t know the laws they have broken or how they will be charged.”