Indonesian police arrests 17 Iraqi, Afghan illegal migrants

12:52, December 28, 2009      

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Indonesian police arrested 17 Iraqis and Afghans in the town of Sidoarjo, in East Java, for immigration violation, the local newspaper Jakarta Post reported here Monday.

"They were arrested as they were about to take a boat to Bali,"Ike Edwin, police chief in East Java's capital city Surabaya, was quoted as saying.

Ike said all of them were being questioned in Surabaya police headquarters. He added that the case would be handed over to provincial police headquarters.

The Surabaya police chief said they had moved to Tlocor villagein Jabon district, Sidoarjo, after "feeling unsafe in their last two stops" in Jakarta and Surabaya, according to the report.

Meanwhile, Sidoarjo Police chief M. Iqbal said the arrests were made following information from local residents.

"Three of those arrested had no passports or visas," Iqbal said. He added that police investigators faced difficulty in questioning them because none of them spoke English.

According to Iqbal, Sidoarjo was a potential safe haven for illegal immigrants as it borders Surabaya.

"Plus, Sidoarjo is on the coast, which could allow immigrants to flee through a sea route," he said.

Indonesia has become a major transit point for people to flee war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka and head for Australia.

Source: Xinhua
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