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14 Afghan asylum seekers rescued in Indonesia

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April 12, 2013 12:49 PM EST | AP


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Officials say Indonesian fishermen have rescued 14 Afghan asylum seekers after their boat sank near the Sunda Strait, while dozens of others are feared missing.

A coast guard official in the West Java town of Sukabumi who gave his name only as Ade said they were rescued early Friday. He said he had no further information, but that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority had reported that the boat capsized with 72 people on board while en route to Australia.

An official of the Search and Rescue Agency in Bandung, Andre Mardianto, said a fisherman reported the boat's location about 50 kilometers (30 miles) off West Java's southern coast.

Indonesia, with more than 18,000 islands, has become a key transit point for asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia.