JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesian authorities captured a group of about 260 migrants from Sri Lanka who are suspected of trying to sail to Australia, a navy spokesman said Sunday.
An Indonesian warship intercepted a cargo ship carrying the group off Anak Krakatau, a volcanic island in the Sunda Strait, between Java and Sumatra islands, said Lt. Col. Supriono, a spokesman for the Western Fleet of Indonesian Navy.
He said the navy then sent three other warships to help transport them to Merak seaport in Banten province on the western end of Java. Some of the migrants refused to be taken off the cargo ship.
Harry Purwanto, head of Banten immigration office said the group, which includes some women and children, would be kept in Banten while they were identified and then would be transferred to immigration detention centers in the capital of Jakarta or other big cities.
Migrants from war-ravaged countries often sail through Indonesian waters on their way to Australia.
Last week, Indonesian police in eastern province of East Nusatenggara detained 22 illegal migrants — 19 Iranians, two Iraqis and one Afghan — who were trying to get to Australia.