Six dead after mass breakout of Rohingya refugees in Malaysia

Bangkok, May 5, (dpa/GNA) - At least six people are dead after a mass breakout of Rohingya refugees from a detention camp in Malaysia.

They were hit by vehicles while crossing a highway following the breakout, the Malaysian news agency Bernama quoted local police chief Mohamad Shuhaily Mohamad Zain as saying. Two children were among the dead, he said.

According to the Immigration Department, 528 people broke through barriers and fled the camp in Sungai Bakap in Penang state early on Wednesday.

In an immediate search operation, more than 360 Rohingya were recaptured and returned to the detention centre.

The Muslim minority Rohingya from Myanmar are brutally persecuted in their homeland. Many flee to predominantly Muslim Malaysia. However, the South-East Asian country does not grant refugee status.

An estimated 100,000 Rohingya are considered undocumented immigrants, so they have no access to education, work or health care.

Many more are still unregistered after arriving illegally - mostly by the sea - and are kept in immigration detention centres.