Burma Times Correspondent: June 02, 2015
The navy is escorting the second rescued ship to the waters of neighbouring Bangladesh, four days after intercepting it in the coast off Irrawaddy, information minister and presidential spokesman Ye Htut said on Tuesday.
According to the government the migrants want to go to Bangladesh rather than Burma. “The Myanmar navy will accompany them to Bangladesh waters. They will provide them with water, food and other things,” he told Reuters by telephone. “It is based on their wishes, we will cooperate with them to send them to Bangladesh.”
Sources have confirmed many migrants were communicating in the Rakhine language, a tongue not understood by Bangladeshis. Rohingya Muslims can however speak the language.
Given a choice between Bangladesh and Burma, most Rohingyas are likely to choose the former. For the migrants, remaining in Burma, especially after being detained by authorities is likely to result in indefinite arrest and possible torture.
Bangladesh is home to approximately half a million Rohingya refugees.
The desire of migrants to go back to Bangladesh also fits the government narrative which claims that the boat people are Bangladeshis and not Burmese residents fleeing ethnic cleansing in Arakan.