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Indonesia find 15 Afghan migrants: police

world Updated: Jul 11, 2009 13:13 IST
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Kupang (Indonesia), July 11 (AFP) Indonesia has found 15 of the 74 Afghan migrants who went missing in treacherous waters en route to Australia, police said on Saturday.

The asylum seekers, who have been missing since on Wednesday, are being held by police on Sumbawa island, Bima city police chief Tjatur Abrianto said.

"We found them yesterday afternoon at the seaport and terminal," Abrianto said. "They didn't try to fight us or run away.

"We're still looking for the others who may still be at the sea or on land."

He said that the migrants' boat had been damaged and they had reached the coast through the help of local fishermen.

"For the next step, the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) will take care of them," he added.

The Indonesian navy had been searching for the boat after being told it had gone missing by Australian police.

"We were informed that a boat was in trouble, but we don't know what sort of trouble," Eastern Fleet spokesman Toni Syaiful told AFP on Friday.

"We've been searching for it since yesterday and we haven't found it yet. So we can't say that the boat has sunk or that we've located it. The search will continue."

Police rescue team leader Victor Jemadu said on friday the search was focused on waters off Komodo and Bubu Bahayo islands.