18 May 2015

Refugees 'killed in fight for food'

8:39 am on 18 May 2015

Refugees rescued from a sinking boat off Indonesia have said about 100 people died after a fight broke out over the last remaining food.

Rohingya Muslim children at a ​​temporary shelter in Langsa, Aceh, Indonesia.

Rohingya Muslim children in a ​​temporary shelter at Langsa, in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: AFP

Survivors told of horrific conditions and three men said people were stabbed, hanged or thrown overboard.

While their accounts cannot be verified, the three migrants made similar statements in separate conversations.

If true, the claims will add to the growing international pressure on Asian countries to find a solution to this crisis, the BBC reports.

The 700 rescued migrants from Myanmar and Bangladesh are being processed by Indonesian authorities at the port of Langsa, on the island of Aceh .

Thousands of migrants are estimated to be adrift in South East Asian waters, denied permission to land.

Migrants from Bangladesh line up to be documented by Indonesian immigration personnel Langsa in Aceh province.

Migrants from Bangladesh line up to be documented by Indonesian immigration personnel Langsa in Aceh province. Photo: AFP

The migrants had wanted to land in Malaysia but say they were driven away by the Malaysian navy.

The boat had reportedly been at sea for two months and had been recently deserted by its crew when it was rescued by Indonesian fishermen on Friday.

The survivors are now being sheltered in warehouses on the shore in Langsa, on the island of Aceh. Many are suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.

Rohingya Muslims have been fleeing Buddhist-majority Myanmar because they are not recognised as citizens and face persecution.

Many of the Bangladeshis at sea are thought to be economic migrants.

The Myanmar government has insisted it is not responsible for the migrant boat crisis and said it might not attend a forthcoming summit on the issue.

On Sunday, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said he hoped to discuss the crisis with Myanmar "before it is brought to the international level".

Early on Sunday there were reported to be at least five people-smuggling boats, carrying up to 1,000 migrants, moored just off the northern coast of Myanmar.

Rohingya migrants stand and sit on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea on May 14, 2015

Rohingya migrants on a boat drifting in Thai waters off the southern island of Koh Lipe in the Andaman sea. Photo: AFP

A wooden fishing boat used to transport nearly 600 mostly Rohingya migrants rests anchored at Lhokseumawe in Indonesia on 14 May.

A wooden boat that carried more than 600 Rohingya migrants, anchored at Lhokseumawe in Indonesia Photo: AFP