Fisherman recalls helping Rohingya stranded at sea

Fishermen first spotted the skiff on Sunday (December 26), with around 120 men, women and children on board.

Speaking to Reuters on Wednesday (December 29), Setiawan said he found it hard not helping the refugees after seeing their living conditions.

"We should help them, at least we helped the people and left the boat. I felt so sorry looking at them and some of them were crying. But I'm afraid it's against the law, it's an eight-year prison term (if we had brought them to shore)," he said.

Indonesia authorities said on Wednesday that they will allow the boat to dock on the shores of the Southeast Asian country, after calls from aid organisations to allow the vessel to seek refuge.

Often sailing to several Southeast Asian countries due to persecution from their home country of Myanmar, hundreds of Rohingya refugees have for years travelled to Indonesia between November and April when the seas are calm.

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