LHOKSEUMAWE, Indonesia — More than 700 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants arrived in Indonesia on Friday after they were rescued by fishing boats when their boat sank off the coast of Aceh province, police said.
"According to initial information we got from them, they were pushed away by the Malaysian navy to the border of Indonesian waters," said Sunarya, police chief in the city of Langsa where the migrants arrived.
After reaching Indonesian territory their boat then went down but was spotted by local fishermen who ferried them to shore, he added.
The official, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said the migrants were brought to the port in Langsa, on Aceh's east coast, aboard six fishing boats.
"The local fishermen saw the boat as it was sinking and then they helped them," he said, adding that they arrived at 5:00 am (2200 GMT Thursday).
Samsul Bahri, an immigration official in Langsa, said that the initial count of the migrants was 712.
"We are evacuating them from the harbour at the moment," he said.
Malaysian patrol ships on Wednesday pushed back two migrant vessels off the northern Malaysian islands of Penang and Langkawi, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Another boat packed with desperate Rohingya migrants was also believed to be on the way to Indonesia after leaving Thai waters overnight after the kingdom blocked it from entering. — AFP