Thailand, Indonesia turn back migrant boats (dpa German Press Agency)

Bangkok (dpa) – Thai and Indonesian authorities Friday each turned back boats thought to be carrying hundreds of Rohingya migrants from Myanmar, officials said.

The Thai navy spotted a boat off the west coast of the south of the country late Thursday, and towed it back out to sea after giving the migrants food, water and medicine, the Bangkok Post reported.

“About 10 people died during the journey,” one of them shouted in Rohingya to a boat of reporters that drew alongside. “We threw their bodies into the water.”

Thailand has proposed temporary camps for migrants on its territory, but would wait until a regional meeting scheduled for May 29 before setting any up as it “cannot go it alone,” a security advisor to the government was quoted as saying.

Thousands of Rohingya, a stateless minority in predominately Buddhist Myanmar, travel through Thailand each month to reach Muslim-majority Malaysia or Indonesia.

Also Friday, the Indonesian navy said it had prevented another migrant boat from landing on Aceh province, across the Malacca Strait from Peninsular Malaysia.

“We are consulting with the Foreign Ministry about what to do,” military spokesman Fuad Basya said.

“Our job is to prevent undocumented ships from entering our territory, but if it is a humanitarian situation we will help.”

Even though Indonesia is not a signatory to the United Nations refugee convention, it is always willing to help people in distress, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said Wednesday.

His remarks came after the military said it had towed a migrant boat out of Indonesian waters on Monday, insisting that the migrants intended to go to Malaysia.

Nearly 600 Bangladeshis and Rohingyas were rescued from another boat off Indonesia’s Aceh province on Sunday.

Malaysian authorities Thursday intercepted two vessels in its northern waters carrying hundreds of migrants, as it moved to boost sea patrols.

“Vessels carrying illegal migrants will not be allowed to enter Malaysian waters,” the director general of Malaysia’s Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Amdan Kurish, said.

More vessels carrying Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants were reportedly heading for Malaysia, he said.

More than 1,000 Rohingyas and Bangladeshis landed in Malaysia’s northern island of Langkawi this week.