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Asylum seekers 'turned around'

A lifeboat carrying asylum-seekers has washed up on Indonesia's main Java island. Those on board said that Australian authorities transferred them to the vessel and turned it around, officials said yesterday.

It was the latest asylum-seeker turn-back by Canberra under its military-led operation aimed at stopping an influx of would-be refugees, AFP reported.

It was the second occasion this month that one of the orange, hard-hulled boats purchased by the Australian navy has washed up on Java. The asylum-seekers on the first occasion also reportedly claimed that Australians had turned them back.

In the latest incident, 26 asylum-seekers and five Indonesian crew were detained by Indonesian authorities at Karangjambe beach on Java's south coast on Monday, local navy officer Suwarto said.