A second group of asylum seekers landed undetected in northern Australia and surprised locals by entering a remote camp.
The group of 13 men entered the Pender Bay Indigenous camp, 180 kilometers north of Broome in Western Australia, shortly before 5pm on Friday and reportedly identified themselves as 12 Bangladeshis and one Indian. .
It follows about 30 male asylum seekers, who said they were from Bangladesh and Pakistan, who turned up on Friday morning near the indigenous community of Beagle Bay, which is about 51 kilometers south of Pender Bay.
The discovery of more unexpected boat arrivals threatens to spark political unrest over the borders, a historic and electoral sensitive point for the Labor Party.
Photos of the men newly arrived at Pender Bay show that they suffered cuts and other minor injuries, probably from walking through mangroves and climbing over rocks to reach land, and the wounds were treated by a local indigenous man.
More apparently undetected asylum seekers have landed in northern Western Australia and were discovered in Pender Bay, about 51 kilometers north of where the first group was discovered.
When shown reports of the group that was found that same day in Beagle Bay, the men declared they did not know them.
WA Police were reported to have arrived at the settlement late on Friday.
Locals have also started scouring the coast for more undetected arrivals.
The Australian Border Force told media on Friday they were carrying out an ongoing operation in northern WA.
“As this operation is ongoing, no further information will be provided,” the ABF said in a statement.
‘Australia’s tough border protection policies mean that no one traveling by boat without authorization will be allowed to settle permanently in Australia.
“The only way to travel to Australia is legally, with an Australian visa.”
Some of the first group of asylum seekers to be discovered in WA’s remote north on Friday morning.
The first group of asylum seekers said they arrived by boat from Indonesia, but it is unclear how many boats were involved, ABC reported.
Beagle Bay locals said they left the community on a bus early Saturday, apparently after spending the night at the local school.
The bus appeared to be heading in the direction of Curtin RAAF base.
A Nauru Airlines plane departed Curtin base mid-morning, arriving shortly afterwards at Broome International Airport, where it remains.
Australia has an offshore immigration detention center on Nauru.
On Friday, opposition leader Peter Dutton lashed out at Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, claiming the undetected arrivals showed he was being soft on borders, a historic electoral sore point for the Labor Party.
Dutton also targeted Albanese telling reporters that he was unaware of Friday morning’s arrivals because he had been traveling by car.
“There are some disturbing reports about the latest ship arrival – this would be at least the 12th under this Prime Minister,” Mr Dutton said.
“The prime minister’s phone works in the car, he should have taken a call, he should have called his minister to ask what’s going on,” Dutton told reporters.
“Human traffickers can identify a weak leader, a weak prime minister and a weak minister and that is exactly what they have done.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he has been assured Border Force is handling matters professionally.
Dutton attempted to link the new arrivals to the controversy over the Albanese government’s handling of detained migrants with criminal records released by a High Court order in November, only to see several arrested.
The Department of Home Affairs revealed earlier this week that 24 of the 149 people released have already been charged with breaches of visa conditions or state offences.
“We have been warning about this for some time, all of the central factors being the release of the 149 criminals (as per the High Court ruling) and the dilution of Operation Sovereign Borders,” Mr Dutton said.
“That sends a clear message to human traffickers, and that’s when they get back into business, and that’s when we see the boats arriving.”
Albanese told media on Saturday that he had been in contact with Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil and the commander of the Operation Sovereign Borders task force, Rear Admiral Brett Sonter, and was assured that everything was under control.
“We don’t talk about the details of operational issues, but I am very comfortable that Operation Sovereign Borders has been launched,” he said.
“It’s the same system that worked before and we will make announcements about what happened there…when that happens.”
“Our position on Operation Sovereign Borders is very clear and people who try to get here by boat will not settle here.”
The Australian Border Force has been contacted for comment.