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MORE REFUGES - 2001-08-29


Indonesia says it has detained a second large group of mostly Afghan and Iraqi migrants trying to go to Australia illegally.

Police say about 150 asylum seekers were staying Wednesday in government housing on Lombok Island, 11-hundred kilometers east of Jakarta. Police said the migrants had no immediate plan to leave the island.

Officials of the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jakarta say the group is under police guard. But Indonesian police say the migrants are not being held against their will.

Speaking in Jakarta, U-N official Raymond Hall said criminal syndicates are responsible for the influx of South Asians. Indonesian authorities say syndicates are charging up to 10-thousand dollars a person to arrange passage to Australia.

Authorities say Indonesia is being targeted by mostly Muslim illegal migrants because refugees believe authorities in Muslim-dominated Indonesia will be sympathetic to their cause.

Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri has not commented publicly on the refugee crisis.

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