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Many Rohingya migrants held in southern Thailand

More than 50 migrants, mostly Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar, have been held in southern Thailand after authorities acting on a tip-off stopped trucks smuggling them through the country, a local official said on Monday. Of the 53 people held, 37 are believed to be from the Rohingya minority, with the remainder from Bangladesh - a source of increasing numbers of migrants arriving on Thai shores.

Twenty-one of the group are aged under 18 and some are as young as five, according to the chief of Takua Pa district in Phang Nga province. “The group were from Myanmar and Bangladesh,” Manit Pianthong told AFP. “They arrived on boats and were taken in three trucks into Takua Pa before dawn today” for transit through to Malaysia. “We had already set up checkpoints as we had information they would come,” he added, explaining the trucks were forced onto a side road where the drivers fled, leaving the migrants behind. The migrants have been taken to be interviewed by social workers to determine if they are victims of trafficking.
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