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09SURABAYA52 2009-05-22 04:13:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Consulate Surabaya
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1. (SBU) Ten Afghan men are still at large after escaping from
an East Java immigration detention center in the early hours of
May 19. Indonesian immigration officers say the fugitives broke
through a barred window and escaped leaving behind an ill
compatriot and seven Iraqis. Indonesian immigration officers
assume the escapees had assistance from smugglers and are making
their way to Australia. Authorities continue to scour nearby
tourist areas, which might allow the fugitives to blend in, but
have no leads. There has been ample evidence of human smuggling
via islands farther east in the Indonesian archipelago (reftel
A), but this is the first arrest of such a group transiting East
Java overland.

2. (SBU) Malang Immigration Officials told ConGen Surabaya that
the 11 Afghans had no travel documents when they were captured
in the small East Java city of Probolinggo, roughly 40 miles
east of Surabaya. However, three of the Iraqis had valid
passports and Indonesian visas; four of Iraqis were holding
travel documents from the UN High Commission on Refugees
(UNHCR). Officials were unsure when the Iraqis would be
released or charged with immigration violations.

3. (SBU) After cyclone season, June's calmer seas offer boats a
window of opportunity for safer passage between West Timor and
Australia. Australian National Police advised Congen Surabaya
that increased surveillance and cooperation between Australian
and Indonesian police has made successful illegal entry almost
impossible by this route (reftel A). While the number of
attempts is unknown, this routing has already claimed lives. In
January 2009, local media reported that authorities in Kupang,
West Timor, had recaptured 13 of 18 illegal immigrants (citizens
of Afghanistan, Burma and Pakistan) who had earlier escaped from
immigration detention. Three were found dead by local fishermen
-- drowned in an attempt to reach Australia on an 11-meter
fishing boat. The island of Sulawesi has also been a transit
point for illegal immigrants transiting Indonesia and bound for
Australia. (reftel B).