Myanmar sends back last batch of rescued Bangladeshis

YANGON — Myanmar has repatriated the last batch of Bangladeshis from the hundreds it rescued in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea earlier this year, a Dhaka newspaper reported last week.

The 52 Bangladeshis were handed over by Myanmar immigration officials at the Ghumdhum border crossing on December 3, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

They brought to 781 the number of verified Bangladeshi nationals repatriated from Myanmar in batches since June 8.

The Myanmar Navy rescued a total of 935 boat refugees in two incidents in May. The Myanmar government said they were all Bangladeshis but Dhaka said later 781 had been identified as citizens of Bangladesh.

The rescue operations came during a refugee crisis that began when a crackdown in Thailand on human trafficking gangs disrupted their networks and left thousands of people stranded on boats in the Bay of Bengal.

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In a statement on December 3, the Bangladesh foreign ministry thanked the Myanmar government, the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for their cooperation during the repatriation process, the Dhaka Tribune said.

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