Friday, January 16, 2009


4 Afghan immigrants die after detention breakout

The Associated Press

Published: January 15, 2009

JAKARTA, Indonesia:

Four illegal Afghan immigrants drowned at sea and five others were missing after a brazen escape from a detention facility in eastern Indonesia, officials said Thursday.

The men were among 18 Afghan and Myanmarese nations who overpowered guards at the facility in Kupang on Wednesday, seriously injuring three. The escaped men then boarded a motorboat that capsized in a storm hours later, police spokesman Okto Riwu said.

Nine survivors were returned to custody and a search team scoured the choppy waters off Kupang for the missing, he said.

They were apparently trying to arrange a boat trip to Australia when they were detained in Kupang in December without proper identification. Indonesia has long been a transit point for people from poor, often conflict-ridden countries hoping to enter wealthy Australia.

In recent years, most migrants have come from Iraq or Afghanistan. They typically fly to Indonesia before continuing to Australia aboard cramped, barely seaworthy ships.

Indonesia's vast seas are treacherous, particularly during high tides in the tropical rainy season.

On Sunday, a ferry capsized off the west coast of Sulawesi and 230 people are missing and presumed dead.