Beaten and starving, some Rohingya flee boats, return to camps

Reuters | .

SAY THA MAR GYI, Myanmar (Reuters) - Scores of Myanmar's minority Rohingya Muslims are paying off people smugglers and returning to the squalid camps they used to live in after being held for months on overcrowded ships that were to take them to Thailand but did not move far from shore.

Often beaten, and given little food and water, at least 50 Rohingya came back over the weekend after paying boat captains between $200 and $300 per person, people in one of the camps said.

A crackdown on the people-smuggling network in Thailand, usually the first stop en route to Malaysia, has meant that at least three ships loaded with hundreds of Rohingya and impoverished Bangladeshis were staying off the coast of Myanmar, they said.

Those who came back said the crews beat them with metal rods and engine chains when they asked for more food. Many were starving, surviving on three cups of water and two handfuls of rice a day for up to three months.

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