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Australia returns asylum-seekers to Indonesia in a lifeboat

Published on Feb 25, 2014 5:57 PM

CILACAP, Indonesia (AFP) - A lifeboat carrying asylum-seekers has washed up on Indonesia's main Java island, with those on board saying Australian authorities transferred them to the vessel and turned it around, officials said on Tuesday.

It was the latest asylum-seeker turn-back by Canberra under its military-led operation aimed at stopping an influx of would-be refugees who board rickety boats in Indonesia and make the perilous sea crossing to Australia.

It was the second occasion this month that one of the orange, hard-hulled boats purchased by the Australian navy has washed up on Java. The asylum-seekers on the first occasion also reportedly claimed the Australians had turned them around.

In the latest incident 26 asylum-seekers and five Indonesian crew were detained by Indonesian authorities at Karangjambe beach on Java's south coast Monday, local navy officer Suwarto told AFP.

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