A BOAT has sailed from the south of Java bound for Australia carrying an estimated 25 Rohingya and Afghan asylum seekers, believed to be the first time in several years that such a vessel has left Indonesia.
An Indonesian intelligence source told News Corp the small boat left late last week from Cidaun, which up until 2013 was the most notorious departure point for asylum seekers in the Indonesian archipelago.
Border Force Australia said it was unaware of the boat and has no current on-water operations.
Politicians have blamed New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern’s offer to resettle 150 refugees from Manus Island and Nauru on a new “pull” for refugees, however others warn the Rohingya crisis will see thousands attempting to get to Australia regardless.
Some 600,000 Muslim Rohingya are currently in crisis in Bangladesh after fleeing Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state, where they faced brutal repression from the military.
That’s fake news. These Muslim invaders waged jihad against the Buddhists of Burma and were beaten back. They should suffer the consequences.
The potential influx risks causing new problems for Australia and Indonesia. At the highest political levels in Jakarta there is deep sympathy for the plight of the Rohingya, whom Indonesian supports as oppressed Muslims within their region.
That’s their problem, not ours.
On Sunday, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo visited Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar, sending a message of solidarity.
He should take them. He has a religious obligation to help his Muslim brothers & sisters in distress. We don’t. KEEP THEM OUT!
In other news:
The concern in Australia will be that the refugees will see President Jokowi’s visit as an invitation to escape the camps and get to Indonesia, putting them on Australia’s doorstep.
Only a fortnight ago, John Blaxland, Head of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at ANU, told News Corp there was “a high likelihood of a wave of refugees heading towards Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia that would make what we’ve seen at Manus and Nauru pale.”
He warned that the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, accused of atrocities that led to retaliation by the military, were actively inciting the Rohingya refugees to jihad.
“We know dispossessed Muslim Rohingya are ripe for the picking by Islamic extremists and it would not be surprising to see a body of violent jihadists emerge from this space,” Mr Blaxland said.
Operation Sovereign Borders was involved in three boat turnbacks or take-backs across 2017, with vessels believed to have come from further afield than Indonesia.
Cidaun, directly north of Christmas Island, was the scene of mass-death tragedy in July 2013 when an overloaded boat, carrying Iranians and Sri Lankans, sank in heavy seas.
The weather off the south of Java across to northern Australia is currently bad, with an active monsoonal trough bringing heavy rains. This will make any attempts by Border Force to turn any boats back to Java fraught.
The former policy instigated by Tony Abbott’s government of sending people back in orange lifeboats was abandoned after consternation that it caused false alarms that a large ship was in strife somewhere off the coast.
In their place, the federal government commissioned 10 brand-new wooden fishing boats to be built in Vietnam, which exchanged on-sea for failing asylum vessels.
However, it was learned the boats did not meet Australian survey and were considered unsafe and were too expensive to bring up to standard.
Five of the vessels have sat for several years in dry dock at a boat yard in Fannie Bay, Darwin.
Myanmar has done a deal with Bangladesh to take back the refugees, but it will be a long process and many of the Rohingya will refuse to return.