Myanmar's navy has rescued more than 100 Bangladeshi migrants stranded for nearly a month on a southern island, Myanmar state media said on Tuesday.
International migrant and refugee organisation explained that the recent discovery of stranded boatpeople is sequel to the recent regional migrant crisis in which people smugglers abandoned thousands in Southeast Asian shores.
It was the first major rescue reported by Myanmar since May, when its navy found a boat packed with more than 700 migrants in the Andaman Sea at the height of Southeast Asia's migrant boat crisis. The state-run daily English newspaper Global New Light of Myanmar said the most recent group of 102 migrants was found late in June, after spending nearly a month on the island in Taninthayi, the southernmost region of Myanmar bordering Thailand, reports Reuters.
The Bangladeshi migrants, all male, were rescued between June 30 and July 12, the Myanmar daily said. The refugees were abandoned and had been left on the island in early June.
However, Bangladesh officials regret that they are unaware and Myanmar authority has not informed the Bangladesh embassy in Naypyidaw, the new capital.
Officials at the Bangladesh embassy said the Myanmar government had not contacted them about the rescued migrants.
"We have just received the news from the media," Tareque Mohammed, the Deputy Chief of Mission, told Reuters news agency. "We have received no confirmation from the Myanmar Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
"The navy is searching the areas and the victims will be sent back to their home country," Tareque said, but gave no details of where the refugees were being held.
The military-owned Myawaddy newspaper said officials in Myanmar found a man on June 30 around two miles off the Coast of Saung Gauk Island, prompting a search of the island early in July, which led to the discovery of the rest.
It said the men had left Bangladesh after being persuaded they could earn more abroad and that those who refused were forced aboard a vessel.
They were among the thousands, many Bangladeshi or Muslim Rohingya from Myanmar, who ended up in dangerously rickety fishing boats run by traffickers, heading for other Southeast Asian destinations.
Earlier, Myanmar had always claimed that all the migrants (including the Rohingyas) were Bangladesh nationals seeking better economic prospects.
However, the Rohingya, a minority Muslim community of Myanmar complain of severe discrimination and mistreatment at home.
Most of the boatpeople landed in Indonesia Malaysia and Myanmar sick and thirsty. At least 1,200 remained adrift, the United Nations said in a report on June 16.