Thais Help Boat With Presumed Rohingya Refugees on its Way

Yyoung Rohingya boys with their family reach the Bangladesh border after crossing a creek of the Naf River on the border with Myanmar, on Sept. 5 in Cox's Bazar's Teknaf area. Photo: Bernat Armangue / Associated Press

BANGKOK — A boat with 56 people claiming to be Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar has been helped back to sea by Thai fishermen and navy craft after being damaged in a storm and stopping temporarily in southern Thailand.

An official in Krabi province said those aboard were seeking to go to Malaysia when their boat was damaged Sunday morning. He said villagers supplied them with food and fuel before sending them on their way.

Rohingya, treated as undesirables in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, used to flee by sea by the thousands each year. The numbers peaked in 2015, sparking a crackdown on their escape route.

About 700,000 have fled western Myanmar since a brutal counterinsurgency campaign by Myanmar’s army launched after Rohingya militants staged attacks on security forces last August.