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Boat carrying 20 asylum seekers intercepted near Australia

23 July 2019 - 156   - 0

A boatload of Sri Lankan asylum-seekers headed for Australia has been intercepted in the Indian Ocean, The Australian reported.

Australian Border Force agents seized the vessel, believed to be carrying 20 refugees, off Christmas Island on Sunday night. The group was then taken ashore before being put on a flight back to Colombo on a government charter plane.

The incident marks the third time a group of refugees have attempted to reach Australia by sea since the federal election, bringing the total number of asylum seekers to 80.   

More than 40 had to be rescued after a boat began to sink in the Indian Ocean last month. An Australian aerial patrol helped save 41 people on board, with the assistance of the Sri Lankan Navy.

The Department of Home Affairs confirmed the illegal immigrants were returned to Sri Lanka. 

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