10 Myanmar migrants die on stranded boat off Thailand

Bangkok: Ten people are believed to have died on a stranded Rohingya migrants' boat off Thailand, while many are forced to drink urine to survive, a media report said on Thursday.

The fishing boat carrying hundreds of Muslim Rohingya migrants from Myanmar, among them women and children, has been stranded in the Andaman Sea for about a week now after it was refused entry into Thailand.

The crew abandoned the migrants after Thailand launched a crackdown on human trafficking. The engine of the boat, which is carrying about 50 women and more than 80 children, has also been disabled. The bodies of those who had died were thrown overboard, BBC reported citing those on board.

The report added the migrants are effectively in a 'tug of war' between Malaysia and Thailand, as neither country allowed them to disembark the boat safely.

Thai fishing boats on Wednesday night towed the migrant boat into Malaysian waters. But it was again towed back to Thai waters.

A Thai Navy official said the migrants had intended to reach Malaysia, and Thailand would give them food, water and medical attention and let them go on their way, according to the report.

The International Organisation for Migration believes that as many as 8,000 migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar could be stranded after Thailand launched the offensive against people smuggler networks.

Rohingyas, whom the UN calls among the most persecuted minorities in the world, are a distinct Muslim ethnic group mainly living in Myanmar.

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