|Australia accused of blowing up asylum boat
Asylum-seekers who washed ashore in Indonesia have claimed the Australian navy blew up their vessel after forcing them onto a lifeboat and turning them back to Java, police said.
Indonesian police found the orange lifeboat and 26 asylum-seekers Monday on Java island's south coast.
After setting off from the port of Pelabuhan Ratu in southern Java, they were intercepted by the Australian navy, 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 police spokesman said: “After they transferred the migrants to the Australian ship, the wooden boat they took from Pelabuhan Ratu was then blown up by the Australian navy.’’
The boat's Indonesian crew, who have also been detained, had given he account.
The Australian navy has previously faced accusations that its personnel verbally and physically abused asylum-seekers as it returned them to Indonesia, claims fiercely denied by Canberra.
The asylum-seekers that arrived this week, from countries including Iraq, Iran and Bangladesh, each paid 30 million rupiah (US$2,850) for the voyage to Australia, police said, citing an account by the boat's captain.
Three of the asylum-seekers have escaped and the remaining 23 have been detained at an immigration detention center in the town of Cilacap, on Java's south coast. --AFP