Boat tragedy: police arrested

Two police officers accused of participating in a people-smuggling operation have been arrested in Indonesia.

Last week 374 people, thought to be Iraqis, died when a ship heading for Australia sank off Java.

Only 44 people survived by clinging to the wreckage for about 20 hours.

The arrests come two days after senior UN officials in Indonesia called for the government to investigate allegations by survivors that about 30 policemen threatened to kill them if they did not board the boat.

The officers were allegedly working with three people smugglers.

Earlier this week survivors said police armed with pistols and automatic weapons forced the passengers to board the boat even though several did not want to after seeing its poor condition.

Officers allegedly used their rifle butts to beat two asylum seekers.

The refugees said a police launch escorted the wooden boat out of Indonesian waters.

Story filed: 06:07 Friday 26th October 2001


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