Desperate landing for 1,000 migrants who defied ‘ban’

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More than 1,000 migrants have gone ashore in different parts of Indonesia and Thailand, the latest refugees to slip into south-east Asian countries that have made it clear the boat people are not welcome.

Weak, hungry and dehydrated, most of the migrants were crammed on to three boats that Indonesian fisherman towed ashore in Aceh province and North Sumatra, while another 106 were found on a Thai island and taken to the mainland.

Earlier this week, about 1,600 migrants were rescued by the Malaysian and Indonesian navies, but both countries then said they could not accept any more and sent other boats away in what has become a regional humanitarian crisis.

It is not clear whether those who landed yesterday had been turned away earlier.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said he was “alarmed by reports that some countries may be refusing entry to boats carrying refugees and migrants”, according to a statement from his office.

Mr Ban urged governments in the region to “facilitate timely disembarkation and keep their borders and ports open in order to help the vulnerable people who are in need”.