Monday, 14 July 2008 11:51 PM

Indonesian Soldiers Violate PNG Border

Indonesian soldiers are said to have crossed into Papua New Guinean territory, defying diplomatic and military protocols and violating international border agreements with PNG.

Papua New Guinea's The National newspaper reports that armed Indonesian soldiers are crossing over the border into PNG thus violating protocols and posing a potential problem for the country.
'Government Ministers Belden Namah (Forest) and his Housing and acting Internal Security colleague, Andrew Kumbakor, were told by villagers and PNG Defence Force personnel at Wutung in Vanimo, Sandaun province, that there had been numerous border incursions allegedly made by the Indonesians at the end of May, June and this month, with the latest being last Saturday and yesterday evening'.

'In one such incident, army personnel said the Indonesians defaced a cement PNG border monument at Wutung by spray-painting it with their 408 battalion symbol. Angry PNG police and soldiers could not retaliate as there were no specific rules of engagement in place. Instead, all they could do was face the Indonesians and order them to leave PNG soil'.

'The parliamentarians were taken to Wutung to talk to the villagers and shown the locations where fully-armed Indonesian soldiers had crossed over into PNG territory. Reports said on June 28, seven PNGDF soldiers led by Sgt Francis Kure met an armed Indonesian battalion and their commander and senior officers about 600 metres inside PNG territory and 100m from Wutung village and ordered them to retreat'.

Also, according to the report, a villager who lives along the border was harassed by armed Indonesian soldiers who came to his home ands told him to leave, claiming he was on Indonesian soil.

'Police officer Snr Const Joshua Umio, attached to the border post, said they encountered 10 armed soldiers on May 30 and June 16 inside PNG soil and told them to go back'.

The National added that Deputy provincial administrator, Tobias Welik, said intelligence reports from the province had been sent to all concerned authorities 'but seemed to have fallen on deaf ears' and that nobody seems to care with a proposed joint border meeting having been deferred for two years.

'Mr Namah and Mr Kumbakor were told that an Indonesian military aircraft had allegedly flown over Vanimo at about 7pm. Mr Namah had vowed to table a report about these events in Parliament'.

Indonesia shares borders with East Timor, Malaysia and PNG. Indonesia had previously occupied East Timor after invading it in 1975 and its rule was known to have been marked by extreme violence and brutality with much fatality.

Letters to the Editor All Letters
By STEVE BANI Vura Heights, East Honiara
By GEOFFREY MAURIASI USP, Lacuala Campus, Fiji
By CHARLES KOULI Gizo, Western Province