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Asylum-seeker boat sinks off Indonesia, killing 21

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Officials said a boat carrying dozens of asylum-seekers has sunk off the coast of Indonesia, killing at least 21 people.

Search and rescue agency officials said 25 people were rescued Friday and taken to Cikole village in the West Java district of Cianjur. They said the search is continuing for more survivors, but it’s unclear how many people were aboard the boat and what countries they were from.

The boat was believed headed for Australia. The incident comes ahead of a visit by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to Indonesia next week, his first since taking office. Australia’s policy of turning back asylum-seekers’ boats has been sharply criticized in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s vast islands and its proximity to Australia make it a popular exit point for the perilous journey.

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