Yesterday (20 April), Hundreds of Rohingya illegal migrants from Myanmar escaped the temporary Immigration depot in Bandar Baharu, Kedah after a riot broke out.
While investigations are still ongoing, a Rohingya detainee revealed that he did not want to leave the depot when the riot started and had no choice but to flee to avoid being beaten up by his countrymen.
The detainee said he was punched by other Rohingya detainees for his defiance of wanting to stay.
Speaking to NST, he said he is a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholder and alleged that those without the card were the ones who caused the chaos.
“The number of those without the UNHCR cards is more than those who had one. If we refused to flee, we would be beaten up and inflicted with injuries,” he confessed.
The man was among 3 other escapees who were recaptured by the police and taken to the Bandar Baharu district police station before they were sent to the immigration depot for the next course of action.
It was reported that some were injured and killed in a road accident when 528 of them fled the immigration depot at 5 am on Wednesday (20 April). Among the escapees were women as well as children.
Meanwhile, the authorities revealed that overcrowding could be the reason behind the riot and breakout.
According to The Star, a total of 130 escapees who escaped from the temporary Immigration depot are still on the run.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the 528 detainees who escaped are Rohingya nationals who were transferred from the Wawasan Langkawi camp after they were arrested for encroaching Malaysian waters in 2020.
According to Bernama, the country has seen 10 breakouts since 1999, with yesterday’s incident being the largest number of escapees.
Six of the incidents involved less than 15 escapees, while the incident on 26 July 1999 recorded the second-highest escapees with 192 Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, and Indonesian detainees fleeing from Lenggeng Immigration Depot in Negeri Sembilan.