Sri Lankan Navy arrests Australia-bound asylum seekersAugust 20th, 2012 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Aug 20 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Navy Monday arrested 83 people, including 66 Tamils, who were heading on two boats to Australia illegally to seek asylum, a navy spokesman said.
The two boats were intercepted off the eastern seas near Trincomalee, Kosala Warnakulasuriya was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
One trawler had 39 people on board, including 31 Tamils and eight Sinhalese, while the second boat had 44 people, including 35 Tamils, six Sinhalese and three Muslims, the navy said.
Most of those arrested are residents of war-affected towns in the north and east of the country.
The navy said the arrested people were handed over to police for investigation.
Before Monday’s incident, the navy had arrested a total of 962 asylum seekers heading to Australia so far this year.
Sri Lanka and Australia have an agreement on curbing illegal asylum seekers, most of whom claim they face various forms of abuses back home.
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