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Malaysia: 139 People Buried in Remote Graves on Border

  • VOA News

A member of Malaysian Navy is silhouetted as he stands guard on the bow of a corvette ship during a media trip for the search and rescue mission of Rohingya migrants in Langkawi, Malaysia on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

A member of Malaysian Navy is silhouetted as he stands guard on the bow of a corvette ship during a media trip for the search and rescue mission of Rohingya migrants in Langkawi, Malaysia on Thursday, May 28, 2015.

Malaysia's Deputy Home Affairs Minister says the government believes 139 people are buried in a group of graves discovered in a remote location on the country's border with Thailand.

Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told reporters Thursday that investigators believe there is one body in each of the graves discovered, rather than multiples, as was first suspected.

He said each of the bodies, suspected to be linked to human traffickers, was wrapped in white cloth and buried according to Muslim tradition.

Malaysia's National Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar first announced the discovery of the graves on Monday, saying they were found at 28 suspected human trafficking camps that likely housed from 20 to 300 people per camp.

The discovery of the camps and the graves followed a similar one earlier this month on the Thai side of the border.

Southeast Asia is battling a humanitarian crisis involving thousands of people smuggled from Myanmar and Bangladesh into Malaysia and Indonesia through Thailand.

Most of the Bangladeshis are seeking to escape poverty in their homeland, while the Rohingya mostly are looking to escape discriminatory treatment by Myanmar's Buddhist majority.

This month, more than 3,500 Southeast Asian migrants have swum to shore or been rescued off boats along the coasts of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Bangladesh.

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