Indonesia arrests suspected people smugglers
6th May 2009, 13:15 WST
Indonesian police have arrested two suspected people smugglers, including one accused of organising an ill-fated sea journey that left several asylum seekers dead.
Police arrested one man in Makassar, on the island of Sulawesi, on Monday, reliable sources said.
Authorities believe the man masterminded a breakout from an immigration detention centre in West Timor in January, then put 18 escaped Afghan and Burmese asylum seekers on a boat bound for Australia.
But at least six people drowned when the boat capsized in a storm just hours later.
Police also arrested another suspected people smuggler in Jakarta on Monday.
Authorities believe he was was responsible for organising a boat carrying 55 Afghan asylum seekers that was intercepted by the Australian navy on April 25.
The boat was intercepted in international waters, 90 nautical miles from Ashmore Reef, nine days after another asylum seeker vessel exploded, killing five Afghans and injuring dozens more.
It is believed the man was in the process of organising another boat journey when he was arrested.