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Thailand pushes back 200 Rohingya boat people: Navy

Published on Jan 30, 2013 12:58 PM
Migrants thought to be from Myanmar's Muslim-minority Rohingya are pictured at a detention centre after they were rounded up in raids on hidden camps in the Thai south, in Thailand's southern province of Narathiwat on Jan 16, 2013. -- PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand's navy blocked more than 200 Rohingya boat people from entering the kingdom as part of a new crackdown on refugees from violence-hit western Myanmar, officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of Rohingya - members of a stateless Muslim minority group described by the United Nations as one of the most persecuted in the world - have fled Myanmar in recent months, mostly believed to be heading for Malaysia.

A Thai navy official in Bangkok said more than 200 Rohingya were found on Tuesday about 40km off the Thai mainland.

"We took them food and water before pushing them towards a third country," said the official, who did not want to be named.

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