More Than 370 Migrants Rescued by Indonesian Fishermen

JAKARTA (DPA) — Indonesian fishermen on Wednesday rescued more than 370 migrants, many from Myanmar's Rohingya minority, a rescue official said.

They were evacuated from two boats off Aceh province, said Khairul Nova, the chief of the search and rescue agency in the town of Langsa.

"They were dehydrated, hungry and very weak," Khairul said. The boat people include men, women and children, he said.  

The rescue came after the military urged fishermen not to help migrant boats reach the country's shores unless they are sinking or their boats stall.

The latest arrivals brought to nearly 1,800 the number of Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants rescued off Aceh this month. 

Before the latest influx, Indonesia was already sheltering nearly 12,000 refugees and asylum seekers from 40 countries, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir. 

Only 500 asylum seekers were resettled to a third country every year after the verification of their refugee status, he said. 

"We have shouldered our share of responsiblity and it's a burden," said Arrmanatha said. 

"This problem must be solved in a comprehensive way involving the source, transit and destination countries," he said. 

"It is a complex problem because it involves people seeking asylum but also people smuggling and trafficking."  

Foreign ministers of Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were to meet Wednesday near Kuala Lumpur to discuss the problem.  

(Reporting by Ahmad Pathoni)
 

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