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Australia returns 41 asylum seekers to Sri Lanka

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Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced Monday that 41 illegal asylum seekers from have returned home.

According to Morrison, two boats carrying the 41 illegal asylum seekers were intercepted north-west of in Cocos Islands late last month, ABC news channel reported.

Morrison said that the 41 people on board were scanned by teleconference at sea before being transferred to the Sri Lankan Navy late Sunday.

The boats carried 37 Sinhalese and four Tamils from Sri Lanka, Morrison added.

A Sri Lankan Navy spokesman said the asylum seekers, all men, would be taken to the port of Galle in Sri Lanka Monday and handed over to the criminal investigation division of that country.

It is a crime to leave Sri Lanka without exiting from an official port, so people who are caught at sea and returned are often charged with illegal migration offences, the spokesman said.

Sri Lankan authorities will also be trying to establish if any of the men have any links to any militant groups, the spokesman added.

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