More Lankans are trying to migrate illegally: Australia

There is an increase in number of Sri Lankans seeking to enter Australia illegally by boat. (AFP Photo)

An Australian general in charge of combating illegal migration says there's been an increase in the number of Sri Lankans seeking to enter Australia illegally by boat in recent months.

Maj. Gen. Craig Furini, head of Operation Sovereign Borders, said Tuesday during a visit to the island nation that since May, 38 people have been returned to Sri Lanka by Australian authorities.

He said Sri Lanka's navy has intercepted 41 other people in the Indian Ocean who were travelling to Australia illegally by fishing boat.

Furini visited the Negombo fishing harbour north of Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, where some of the boats have departed from in the past.

He said the political climate in Australia and the Easter bomb attacks in Sri Lanka could be factors in the increase. 

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