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Australian navy blew up asylum boat, says Indonesia police

Published on Feb 26, 2014 6:47 PM

CILACAP, Indonesia (AFP) - Asylum-seekers who washed ashore in Indonesia have claimed the Australian navy blew up their vessel after forcing the would-be refugees into a lifeboat and turning them back to Java, police said on Wednesday.

Indonesian police found the orange lifeboat and 26 asylum-seekers Monday on Java island's south coast. The would-be refugees said they were turned around attempting to reach the Australian territory of Christmas Island.

After setting off from the port of Pelabuhan Ratu in southern Java, they were intercepted by the Australian navy entering Australian waters and transferred to the lifeboat, police said.

Australia has purchased the lifeboats as part of its military-led operation to stem the influx of would-be refugees by returning them to Indonesia, a policy that has angered Jakarta.

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