18 Jul 2012

Indonesian soldiers 'escorting' asylum seekers

11:40 pm on 18 July 2012

Indonesian authorities have intercepted 41 asylum seekers travelling by bus to the south Java coast.

The ABC reports they were travelling in a convoy accompanied by military officers.

A senior police intelligence source has told the ABC that five military officers, in uniform but believed to be unarmed, were guiding a convoy of asylum seekers to the coast.

They were travelling in minibuses and other vehicles when they were intercepted by port police.

Police say the asylum seekers are from Iran and Syria and were intending to board a boat bound for Christmas Island.

The boat was meant to leave from Palangpang beach in the Pelabuhanratu area of the south west Java coast.

The officers have been arrested and handed over to Indonesian military police.

Three drivers and a guide were also arrested and the asylum seekers have been detained for questioning.