BEIRUT: Caretaker Minister of State Adnan Mansour said Friday that DNA tests on the bodies of the Lebanese who drowned off the Indonesian coast last month have been conducted and the DNA matching will begin next week.
Mansour said that he was informed by Joanna Qazzi, the Lebanese Charges d'Affaires in Jakarta, that the tests were finalized and that the matching will start next week upon the arrival of professor Fouad Ayoub to Jakarta on Monday morning.
The minister said that Qazzi confirmed that the Lebanese Embassy in Jakarta is doing its best in coordination with the Indonesian authorities in order to speed up the process of identifying the bodies to enable their transfer to Lebanon no later than the end of this month.
A boat carrying around 80 migrants trying to illegally cross from Indonesia to Australia foundered off the Indonesian coast last month.
At least 26 Lebanese were drowned while 18 survived. Most of the Lebanese victims hailed from the underdeveloped area of north Lebanon, mainly from the Akkar village of Qabeet.
The 18 survivors have already returned to Lebanon.