September 26, 2012
INDONESIAN police have arrested 119 Afghans and two Iranians moments before they were to board a rickety boat to Australia to seek asylum, having earlier fled a detention centre.
The migrants were travelling on three buses towards a beach in West Java province when they were stopped, district immigration chief Tito Andriyanto said.
“Police arrested them when they were about to arrive at a beach where a big boat was already waiting at sea to take them to Christmas Island (Australia),” he said, adding that police had known about the boat for two days.
The group included six women and a three-year-old boy.
“We will send the 121 migrants back to Cisarua today,” added the immigration chief, referring to an immigration detention centre about 120km away.
Eight Indonesians suspected of helping to organise the vessel were arrested along with the migrants, West Java provincial police spokesman Martinus Sitompul said.