Mass graves with at least 24 human bodies have been unearthed along the Thai-Malaysian border in the northern Malaysian state of Perlis. The skeletons are likely to be of human trafficking victims, said Malaysian Police.
Police found the corpses on Saturday in the Bukit Wang Burma area near Malaysia's border with Thailand. The heavily forested border area is frequently used by traffickers seeking to smuggle Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims - a persecuted minority in Myanmar - to Southeast Asia by boat.
In May, Malaysian authorities discovered over a hundred bodies in mass graves near camps run by people smugglers in the country's north. The finding came after 26 bodies were exhumed from trafficking camps in neighboring Thailand.
"Following on from the operation in which we found … bodies of illegal immigrants, 24 more bodies have been found and dug up," the police said in a statement on Saturday, adding that it had sent the remains to medical experts for examination.
It is not immediately clear whether the bodies are those of Rohingya Mulims.
"It is believed that heavy rain has eroded the graves," Shafie Isamil, police chief of the Malaysian state of Perlis, was quoted as saying by the state news agency, Bernama.
The refugee crisis in Southeast Asia has flared over the past few months following a crackdown on human traffickers by Thai authorities. In May, several abandoned boats carrying more than 1,000 people washed to shore on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, near Thailand.
In reaction to increasing international pressure, Malaysia and Indonesia promised they would no longer be pushing back migrant vessels seeking to reach their shores.
shs/ng (Reuters, AFP)