Indonesia police: Stadium exit gates too small for escape
This undated handout picture provided on September 2, 2014 by Indonesia’s National Police shows passengers entering or leaving the Indonesia Super Cup football match between Persepolis and Persipura at the National Stadium in Jakarta.
Jakarta: There are no plans to make the exit gates large enough to accommodate the expected 10,000-15,000 asylum seekers who have been detained by the authorities in the past few days.
“The exit gates are very strong,” one senior police official who confirmed the move said. “If they try to go out from here, they would hit the gate as they were in a hurry. There’s no need for them to go from here.”
The government has so far denied reports of detaining thousands of people who were on a boat from Vietnam and have been held since Sunday at the Jakarta port city of Solo, while they await the outcome of a military action against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, known as ISIL.
Indonesia police have detained around 15,000 people in recent days in an attempt to stop the exodus of asylum seekers from Vietnam to Indonesia. They have also denied that people detained so far are fleeing from the IS group.
Jakarta police chief Sutarman said on Wednesday that “if someone was planning to go to the country illegally, then we have to detain them,” but there were no reports that asylum seekers were planning to go to the country illegally or that anyone had been detained.
Some people detained have been held in camps, while others are being transferred to the island of Sumatra where they will be able to be dealt with more quickly, a senior police official said on Tuesday.
“We will transfer them there,” the official said. “We’re not using them to be held here.”
Deputy police spokesman in Jakarta, Wiranto, said on Wednesday that there had been “less than 30” people detained. “We haven’t detained any more than that,” he said.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, there are an estimated 200,000 asylum seekers in Indonesia, with the vast majority in the eastern province of Aceh. Their detention is illegal and a violation of international law.
The UNHCR said that since Sunday 11,000 asylum seekers