20 Aug, Jakarta Globe
Cianjur. A joint team of military and police officers on Sunday arrested 28 illegal immigrants hiding in a forested coastal area of South Cianjur, West Java.
The immigrants were part of a large group of asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran who were heading to Christmas Island. It was not clear how long they had been hiding in the forest when they were arrested.
“In total, 61 immigrants have been arrested,” Comr. Gatot Satrio, the Cianjur Police’s operations division chief, said on Sunday as quoted by Antara state news agency.
The team was still searching for 19 more immigrants in the forest near Cisela beach in Cianjur.
Irpan Safari, an immigration officer in Sukabumi, West Java, said his office had interviewed dozens of immigrants arrested earlier.
Irpan said the immigrants had been listed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHR) as asylum seekers. They reportedly paid people-smuggling networks up to $5,000 to help them travel by fishing boats.
“Under the supervision of the Cianjur Police and the immigration office, they will be taken to a quarantine house of the International Organization of Migration in Cisarua [in West Java],” Irpan said.