Navy sends ship to evacuate stranded immigrants in Madura


Surabaya, East Java (ANTARA News) – The Indonesian Navy`s Eastern Fleet Command has sent a ship to evacuate the stranded illegal immigrants on Guagua island in East Java.

“The KRI Tongkol-813, led by Major Erpandrio Trio Wiguno, left Surabaya at around 10.45 am and is expected to arrive at the location by around 9 pm,” command spokesman Lt. Col Yayan Sugiana stated here on Thursday.

He said the ship was deployed after a request from the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) to help evacuate around 30 illegal immigrants from Middle Eastern countries.

“It was earlier reported that a traditional boat carrying around 60 illegal immigrants faced some engine trouble off the Raas island waters in the district of Sumenep, Madura, which forced the passengers to be stranded on an island,” Yayan explained.

“According to the information we have received, 30 immigrants are now on Guagua island and the whereabouts of the rest are not yet known. Right now the waves are high, so there are many possibilities. The immigrants landed in the island after being helped by local people, but their exact numbers are not yet clear,” he said.

Earlier, Sumenep district police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Dirin stated that a group of illegal immigrants, allegedly headed for Australia to seek asylum, were found stranded in Guagua island on Thursday morning.

“Right now the immigrants are detained at the house of a village leader while more data are being collected. It is not impossible that there are others who have not yet been identified,” he said.

According to an interim investigation report, the immigrants have come from Iran and Iraq, but more details will be available after they are interrogated at the immigration office in Surabaya.(*)


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