Asylum boat intercepted off Australian island

Canberra, May 4 (IANS) A boat carrying asylum seekers was intercepted off the coast of Australia’s remote Cocos Islands territory, sources said on Wednesday.

The vessel was spotted by a ferry passing by the remote chain of islands, located between Sri Lanka and the west coast of the Australian mainland, and intercepted by authorities on Monday, EFE news reported citing the sources.

It is said to have been two years since the last documented asylum seeker boat arrived in Australia.

A passenger on board the ferry that spotted the vessel told The Australian daily that he did not know what happened after the boat was intercepted because “everything is so secret”.

The immigration department has not commented on the incident.

Australia’s “stop the boats” campaign seeks to stop asylum seekers from reaching the mainland.

Many people who have tried to reach Australia from countries including Syria, Iran and Myanmar, are being held in immigration camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where living conditions are poor.

Two asylum seekers on Nauru have set themselves on fire in recent weeks, including a 23-year-old Iranian man who died of his injuries last week.



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