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Sri Lanka navy rescues suspected illegal migrants

October 4, 2013

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s navy rescued 70 suspected illegal migrants Friday after a fishing boat they were traveling in was found stranded in international waters off the country’s southern coast.

The Sri Lankans, including children and women, were brought to the port in the southern city of Galle, navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya said.

Authorities had still not questioned them and it was unknown where they were heading. But Australia has been the targeted destination for most would-be migrants in the past.

Australia is trying to stop a surge of would-be refugees from poor or war-torn countries, including Afghanistan, Iran and Sri Lanka. It has returned more than 1,300 Sri Lankans in the past year and sent some to Papua New Guinea and Nauru to assess their claims for refuge.

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