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Police fire warning shot; Lankans off Aceh to be escorted back

17 June 2016 10:45 am - 6     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Indonesian Police has fired a warning shot into the air after a group of Sri Lankan women who have been stranded off the coast of Aceh since June 11 disembarked from their boat in defiance of orders from Indonesian authorities, the Sydney Morning Herald reported today.

An eyewitness has told Fairfax Media the five women, who are among 44 Sri Lankans who claimed they were en route to Australia when they suffered engine trouble, had earlier pleaded that a child they said was sick be allowed to come to shore.

Indonesian authorities have refused to allow the Sri Lankans, who are believed to be Tamils, to disembark in Indonesia because they do not have passports or travel documents.

This is despite Amnesty International and the Geutanyoe Foundation for Aceh urging the Indonesian government to allow the Sri Lankans to disembark and meet with UN refugee agency officials.

Ahmad Samadan, the head of immigration in Aceh, told Fairfax Media the boat of Sri Lankans would be towed off the beach and then escorted out of Indonesian waters when the weather calmed down.

"Once they leave Indonesian waters it's up to them where they go next," he said.
However, Indonesian media reported that the group of Sri Lankans stranded off Indonesia is set to be ‘escorted’ back towards India.

Describing the Sri Lankans as ‘illegal immigrants’, the head of the Aceh immigration division A Samadan said they had been rejected on four grounds, including a lack of travel documents and a failure to notify authorities of their intended arrival.

The boat will be escorted out of Indonesian waters towards India, Mr Samadan told AAP on Thursday.

The international director of the Geutanyoe Foundation, Lilianne Fan, told Fairfax Media the Sri Lankans had indicated to local journalists that they had left Jaffna, the capital city of the northern province of Sri Lanka.

Fairfax Media understands the women who jumped off the boat sat on the beach and mimed shooting themselves in the temple.

In chaotic scenes local police tried to cordon off the beach and persuade the remaining Sri Lankans to stay on the boat.

Fairfax Media understands the five women, who suffered mild injuries jumping on shore, have now returned to the boat where they - and the sick child - are being treated by Indonesian health officers.

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  Comments - 6

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  • Sheri Friday, 17 June 2016 02:32 PM

    Pathetic as the case may be, but well-staged and well-managed performances by the women, as they usually do - and well-orchestrated by the human smugglers.

    Maya Friday, 17 June 2016 10:54 AM

    If they are Sri Lankans, as reported, why our mission did not even consider offering some food and medicine ? children of lessor God? They were escaping pathetic Indian camps to go elsewhere and so India won't help! What a sorry state!

    Rattapakse Friday, 17 June 2016 11:40 AM

    Yes, you are right, The Sri Lankans from the shore of Sri Lanka would be sent back by the Aussies. But these people are from India and so going there as they are already refugees. What a dilemma!. Even the Tamil politicians do not talk about them. Our govt has some moral responsibility.

    gobbaya Friday, 17 June 2016 12:50 PM

    maya.....you dont wanna know about the SL mission in Indonesia...lolits a paid vacation posting..... via DM Android App

    Lal Friday, 17 June 2016 12:55 PM

    If they don't have travel documents how they can claim themselves as Sri lankans? They could be Indian Tamils.

    LAN Friday, 17 June 2016 12:58 PM

    @Maya SL mission should be allowed by Indonesia government. There are still treated like in international waters. I do not think these guys are Sri Lankan anyway. It is best to send them to India.


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