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54 Afghan migrants escape Indonesia detention: Official

More than 50 Afghan migrants held by Indonesian authorities while attempting to make their way by boat to Australia have escaped from detention, officials said.

world Updated: Sep 16, 2009 23:45 IST

More than 50 Afghan migrants held by Indonesian authorities while attempting to make their way by boat to Australia have escaped from detention, officials said on Wednesday.

The 54 Afghans, who were detained by authorities last week, escaped from a navy shelter on the eastern island of Lombok in groups between Friday and Wednesday, local immigration office monitoring head Mohammed Adnan told AFP.

"Fifty Afghan migrants escaped detention between Monday and Wednesday because they felt unhappy with the detention situation and facilities," Adnan said.

"Another four migrants escaped on Friday," he said, adding one of the escapees was recaptured at the airport of the island's capital Mataram.

All the escaped were from an original 70 Afghans detained in two groups by police near Lombok last week.

Indonesia is a key staging point for people-smugglers bringing Afghans and other nationals for a perilous onward sea journey to Australia.

More than 1,000 migrants from countries including Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been caught in Indonesia since November last year.