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SOMALIA: Indonesia foils smuggling of Somali refugees from Malaysia

The Indonesian Navy has thwarted an attempt to smuggle eight Somali citizens using an Indonesian boat from Malaysia through Bagan Asahan waters in North Sumatra.

“The navy patrol captured an unnamed vessel at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday,” Head of public relations and the Directorate General of Immigration at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights Agung Sampurno said on Saturday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Agung said the captain and crew had jumped into the mangrove forest carrying the passports of eight Somali refugees who had allegedly come from Malaysia.

Agung also said that the Merauke Immigration Office on April 16 had prevented the smuggling of five Senegalese nationals into Papua New Guinea (PNG) through a traditional exit route from Sota, Papua.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 150,845 refugees and asylum seekers in Malaysia as of March 2017. There are about 14,000 refugees in Indonesia, residing at immigration detention centers, community houses and elsewhere.

“Indonesia is located between a refugee-receiving country, Malaysia, and a country that has ratified the UN convention on refugees, Australia, which makes Indonesia vulnerable to getting refugees from both countries,” Agung said. (dis/dan)

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