Police in Bangladesh have recovered the bodies of three more Rohingya refugees who were passengers on a boat carrying around 100 migrants to Malaysia illegally that capsized in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday.
Md Hafizur Rahman, the officer in charge of the Teknaf Model Police Station, confirmed this to Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
The bodies of two Rohingya women were recovered Wednesday night, while the body of a Rohingya child was recovered late Tuesday, bringing the death toll to six, with five of the victims women, he added.
However, the identities of the victims could not immediately be determined. The bodies were sent to Cox's Bazar Sadar Hospital’s morgue for autopsies.
Rahman said the bodies will be handed over to relatives once their identities are confirmed in accordance with the local court's instructions.
At least 15 passengers were still missing according to the accounts of those who were rescued, he added.
So far, 45 people have been rescued, with the rescue operation led by the Bangladeshi Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, police filed a case against 24 members of the human trafficking gang along with brokers at Teknaf police station.
Six of those rescued were members of human trafficking networks and named in the police case, while police launched an operation to nab the remaining accused, Rahman added.
Bangladesh has housed 1.2 million Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar since a refugee influx in 2017 in response to a crackdown by Myanmar’s military.
With efforts to repatriate Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar stalled, many members of the persecuted ethnic minority are looking for a way out, playing into the hands of human smugglers.
According to a 2020 UN report, 2,413 Rohingya refugees took risky sea routes to reach a third country from Bangladesh's refugee camps. At least 218 people died or went missing during the perilous journey.