Immigrants crash truck into UN

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Fourteen Indonesian immigrants demanding political asylum crashed a lorry through the main gate of the United Nations refugee agency in the Malaysian capital yesterday to avoid deportation. The dramatic entry on to diplomatic soil was the latest chapter in Malaysia's troubled efforts to repatriate thousands of immigrants who have filled detention centres.

A representative of an Indonesian rights group said all 14 were from Aceh province, in Sumatra island, the scene of a separatist revolt which peaked in the early 1990s.

According to official figures, eight Indonesians from Aceh were killed last Thursday during a mass deportation operation carried out by Malaysian police. However, there are reports that at least 39 died either during the operation or of injuries suffered during the deportation. The Acehnese say they fear persecution if they return home, and the UNHCR said it was studying requests from the Indonesians in its compound for refugee status. Police said they would not enter the UN compound as it is diplomatic territory.

The UNHCR is due to hold talks with Foreign Ministry officials in Kuala Lumpur today.