At least 100 people were missing after a boat carrying about Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar capsized in the Bay of Bengal Wednesday, Reuters reported quoting a Bangladeshi border force officer.
The boat carrying 110 people was heading to Malaysia when it capsized in rough waters off Teknaf on the southern tip of Bangladesh. Twelve people were rescued and the search was on for the rest of the victims.
"We were heading to Malaysia for jobs but the boat suddenly went upside down and sank," survivor Jamir Hossain told Reuters.
"I floated for several hours before a fishing boat picked me up," he said.
The boat reportedly was crammed with people and had illegal migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar who were travelling to Malaysia in search of work.
“The boat was crammed with people, most of whom had no travel documents and had each paid 22,000 taka for the journey to Malaysia,” another survivor, Nazir Ahmed, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Rohingya Muslims from the Buddhist-dominated Myanmar are facing ethnic discrimination in their country. Violent clashes were reported in the western province of Myanmar between the minority Muslim community and the Buddhists, forcing the Rohingyas to flee the country.
Rohingya Muslims are denied citizenship in Myanmar as the country considers them as illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
On the other hand, Bangladesh disowns them. It has turned down the pleas of Rohingyas for refugee status, leaving them with virtually no place to go. To escape the harassment from Myanmar, Rohingyas have been leaving the country in hundreds, using the illegal transit system to South Asian countries via sea.
In a similar tragedy in the Bay of Bengal Oct. 28, a boat carrying 130 people sank and a very few people were rescued.