SRI LANKAN BOAT PEOPLE THREATEN TO BLOW UP THE SHIP IF FORCED TO STOP GOING TO AUSTRALIA
Posted on October 13th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The 260 Sri Lankan boat people’s incident took a dramatic turn when they threatened to blow up their cargo ship and jump into the sea if Indonesian authorities force them to disembark at the Indonesian port Merak.

The boat people said they are from Jaffna but vouched that they were not Tamil Tigers fleeing from Sri Lanka.

Reports from Indonesia said Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd had personally appealed to the Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to stop them from entering Australia.

After the Australian request Indonesian Navy has intercepted the cargo ship near the active volcanic island of Krakatoa. The engine of the boat has broken down and the boat is stranded on their voyage to the Australian Christmas islands.

“We have gas canisters and we have told the navy we will blow up the boat and jump into the ocean if they try to force us off the boat,” said a spokesman for the asylum-seekers, who would only give his name as Alex. Alex was quoted by the newspaper Australian.

Alex has told the newspaper that the Sri Lankans had each paid $US15,000 to board the wooden craft in Malaysia 13 days ago, after travelling there by air from Jaffna, the Tamil capital of Sri Lanka.

Although the man who called himself Alex denied they are Tamil Tigers they used the LTTE slogans for them to flee Sri Lanka.

“Another boat full of Tamils left Malaysia for Canada, and for that people were paying $US45,000 per person,” he said. “That was far too expensive.” If true, another boat of Tamils are heading for Canada.

Alex was further quoted having said his group had been at sea for 13 days before being captured by an Indonesian navy vessel early on Saturday morning. “We spent a month in the jungle in Malaysia before that,” he said.

The Australian said International Organisation for Migration staff were working with Immigration Department officials last night to resolve the standoff, with the Sri Lankans adamant they wanted to continue their journey to Australia.

Alex refused to give details of the agent, to the newspaper, who had taken money from members for the group in Malaysia, repeatedly saying he feared for his life.

The Australian further reported,that Four of the boatpeople were in hospital last night being treated for non life-threatening issues, including one woman who reportedly was pregnant.

“A military source, who refused to be named, said navy ships guarding the asylum-seekers had accompanied the boat after it was intercepted in the Sunda Strait near Anak Krakatau, an active volcano that attracts thousands of tourists to its spectacular displays” The Australian further reported.

2 Responses to “SRI LANKAN BOAT PEOPLE THREATEN TO BLOW UP THE SHIP IF FORCED TO STOP GOING TO AUSTRALIA”

  1. aravinda Says:

    The per Capita income in Sri Lanka is $4300 (estimate 2008). For Canada is $ 39098 and Australia is $ 36918.
    If one desires, it is not hard to migrate to these countries. All you got to do is get qualifications and experience desired by these nations. I have no right to advise people what to do with their lives, but do without disgacing the country which gave you birth. These asylum seeker have a moral obligation not to discredit and harm Sri Lanka by their stupid lies.

  2. cassandra Says:

    I wonder whether Alex realises that blowing up the boat wull be a criminal offence. Surely, after saying that he should not expect the Australians to want to have anything to do with him – a potential criminal! His statement gives a powerful clue to the character of these individuals and their bona fides.

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