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Indonesia detains 26 Australia-bound Sri Lankan asylum seekers

Published on Feb 19, 2013 3:22 PM

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesian police have arrested 26 Sri Lankans asylum seekers who were stranded after their boat hit a reef as they tried to reach Australia's Christmas Island, an official said on Tuesday.

Based on a tip-off from local fishermen, police arrested the 17 men and 6 women, as well as three children, off an island in Jakarta's Thousand Islands chain on Monday morning, senior police officer Bungin Misalayuk said.

"They are all Sri Lankan nationals who planned to sail to Christmas Island. Their boat was stranded at Tidung Island," he said, adding that the wooden boat's captain and crew have gone when police arrived at the site.

"They are all in good condition and being held at an immigration detention centre," he said.

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