August 18, 2020, 09.15 PM

MAKASSAR, KOMPAS.com – A family of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have officially received American citizenship after temporarily living for seven years in Makassar in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi.

Mohammad Islam Nur Alam, the head of the family, could not hide his happiness as his family is scheduled to leave for the US on August 19 after living in uncertainty for seven years. Nur Alam, his wife, and their three children were granted citizenship under the United Nations resettlement program.

“We are grateful. Hopefully, our lives will be much better in the United States,” said Nur Alam before leaving Sultan Hasanuddin International Airport in Makassar on Tuesday, August 18.

Also read: 18-Year-Old Rohingya Refugee Runs Away from Camp in Indonesia’s Aceh

The 43-year-old said the riots in the Rohingya village had killed his 27 family members. The conflict forced him to flee Myanmar and seek refuge in Malaysia in 1994. He felt guilty because he could not do anything for his family at that time.

“My siblings are still in Myanmar. We communicate via phone as the situation is still tense, especially for the Rohingya ethnic,” he said.

They departed from Makassar at around 1pm local time for Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta.

The Makassar Immigration Detention Center (Rudenim) Head Togol Situmorang said Nur Alam would meet with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) staffer in Jakarta to submit some documents.

Also read: Indonesia Provides Temporary Shelter to 99 Rohingya Refugees in Aceh

He and his family will then leave Jakarta for Chicago via Doha in Qatar on August 19.

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