Refugees found camped on Australian beach

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SYDNEY: A group of asylum-seekers was found camped on a beach on Australia’s remote Christmas Island on Thursday, three days after their people-smuggling boat ran aground, reports said.

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Gordon Thomson, president of the Christmas Island council, said the group of about 25 had been sheltering on secluded Dolly Beach since Monday when their boat foundered offshore, undetected by Australian authorities.

“Their boat has sunk and they have been living on Dolly Beach since Monday . . . camped on the beach,” Thomson told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“We’re told that when offered water and food, they weren’t thirsty and they weren’t that hungry, so they seem to have survived quite well since Monday.”

Thomson said the group survived by eating coconuts and crabs. The alarm was raised when a small number, reported by Thomson to be ethnic Rohingya from Myanmar, ventured away from the beach Thursday and onto a main road.

“There was a mad scramble [from police and officials]about 11.30 a.m. and I assume someone has seen them walking along the road and called the cops,” he said.

AFP

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