Sea survivors tell of starvation horror

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Survivors on a Burmese boat rescued by the Sri Lankan navy have claimed 97 others on board died of starvation after the Thai navy intercepted them and forcibly removed the vessel’s engines.

Thirty-two men and a boy now detained at an immigration detention centre near Colombo were rescued last Saturday when their dilapidated wooden vessel began sinking while making a journey to Malaysia.

They claimed to have been drifting at sea for 25 days. The Thai navy has denied the allegations.

The survivors are Rohingya Muslims regarded as illegal immigrants into Burma from Bangladesh. They said they do not want to return to Burma.