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Sole migrant camp survivor believes more than 500 have been killed

The sole survivor of a migrant camp has spoken out through an interpreter on condition of anonymity to tell the world that he believes more than five hundred victims have been killed at various camps holding human trafficking and kidnap victims along the Thai Malaysian boarder.

Another migrant, Kuramia paid Bt95,000 baht in ransom to save his nephew Kazim, who was being held at the same boarder camp, but he never saw him alive, he was among 26 dead bodies recently exhumed from the mass grave site in the Sadao district of Songkhla. The sole survivor from that camp said that he saw a trafficker and his henchmen beat Kazin to death, he said “ I have heard that thousands of Rohingya migrants were in the camps, waiting for either jobs of ransoms to arrive. My mum had to sell our families land to pay my ransom, that is the reason that I am safe”. The anonymous man said that he was lured out of Myanmar’s Rakhine state six months ago by a job offer in Malaysia, he ended up in the same camp as Kazim, along with 700+ other migrants.

Kuramia told reporters that when he was contacted by Aruna, the man that ran the camp, he agreed to pay Bt95,00 ransom in exchange for Kazim’s freedom, but after the transfer was made it all went quiet. Then just over two weeks late he was asked for a further Bt120,000, but he had no access to that kind of money. He then decided to lodge a complaint with police in the province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, but later on he was told that Aruna and his men had beat Kazim to death. When the sole survivor came forward and agreed to testify the police issued an arrest warrant for Aruna, who was subsequently taken into custody. The investigation then led police to the campsite in Sadao where the mass grave was discovered. They died because their families could not afford the ransom the sole survivor said.

Assistant Police Commissioner General Jarumporn Suramanee said that most of the bodies exhumed were already skeletons and only six were decaying remains, but there was no sign of injury, he believes they died of disease or malnutrition, it is also unclear if the bodies were those of Rohingya.

Police spokesman Lt-General Prawut Thavornsiri said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan had made it clear the culprits in this case must be brought to justice.

National Police Commissioner General Somyot Poonpanmoung had already assigned Deputy National Police Commissioner General Jakthip Chaichinda to head a special investigation team.

“This team will go to the South to solve this case,” Prawut said. The sole survivor said that a Thai couple known only as Bang Chee and Farida were the owners of the camp where Kazim died. The pair came to the camp to check the number of victims and the ransom amounts he said.

Meanwhile, police in Tak province are trying to locate two Myanmar females reportedly lured to the Thai side and held at a plantation in Ban Huai Nok Lae.

The victims, aged 13 and 25, only contacted their family once since leaving their border village with a man last week. Their family has told authorities that this man was very likely a human trafficker.

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