WASHINGTON — The United States has begun military surveillance flights to help locate stranded Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people in Southeast Asian seas.
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday that U.S. Navy P8 aircraft flew over the weekend with Malaysian support.
Rathke said the U.S. has offered to help governments in the region by providing information about boats possibly carrying migrants in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
This month, more than 3,000 migrants have landed in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, and thousands more are believed to be trapped at sea in boats abandoned by their captains.
Human traffickers have also abandoned jungle camps on land. Malaysia was exhuming remains Tuesday from graves at a suspected transit point used by traffickers near the Thai border.