Friday, May 29, 2009
A ship packed with Afghan migrants sank off Indonesia's western coast early on Thursday, killing at least five people and leaving 17 others missing, the navy said. Al Muhfid, a second lieutenant, said fisherman rescued more than a dozen people from the water. The men, including several who were badly hurt, told authorities they wanted to seek political asylum in Indonesia because of the security situation in their homeland, he said. It was not immediately clear where the boat was headed.Indonesia is increasingly being used as a transit point for illegal migrants from war-ravaged countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. They typically continue on to Australia aboard cramped, barely seaworthy ships. The vast seas surrounding the archipelago are treacherous, particularly during high tides in the tropical rainy season. Muhfid said the five bodies recovered from the Malacca Strait were Afghans. The 17 missing included two Indonesian crewmen, he said.