A group of illegal immigrants escaped from a detention center in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), Friday (08/13/2010). They are believed to be heading to Australia, where the boat people became a hot issue ahead of general elections next week.
Head of Immigration Office NTT, I Gusti Ngurah Rai, said that as many as 21 illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran were part of the 44 immigrants who escaped from detention centers in Kupang. However, the officers managed to arrest 23 people in between. "The 21 people that may have fled to Australia by using a different boat," he told AFP.
"Eyewitnesses said the seven immigrants have been hired a boat and go to Australia this morning," he added.
Indonesia has become an important point for people smugglers to bring illegal immigrants through the dangerous sea voyages south to Australia. Australia's political leaders now are looking for a great way to protect the borders of the boat people breakthrough in the campaign for elections on August 21.
More than 1,000 illegal immigrants from various countries such as Myanmar, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan has been caught in Indonesia since November last year.