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Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Indonesian Troops Fire On PNG Soldiers Along Border

Tension increases, PNG summons Indonesian Ambassador to protest

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 5, 2014) – Indonesian troops have opened fire on a PNG Defence Force border patrol, increasing further tension at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesia border.

The flare-up at the border compelled the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration to summon the Indonesian Ambassador Andrias Sitepu to give another protest note, just over a month after the diplomat was issued the first one over similar concerns.

Mr Pato said the note expressed concerns at the developments on the border and condemned the "shooting incident" on the morning of April 19 when Indonesian troops opened fire on a PNGDF patrol.

"While there being no reports of casualties, the Indonesian government should ensure that such incidences do not reoccur in the future," he said.

Despite the protest by Port Moresby, the situation is deteriorating, compelling the Government to ask Indonesia for dialogue to look for a way forward in line with various border treaties the two neighbours have signed over the years.

It is understood the current conflict between elements of the OPM (Operasi Papua Merdeka) and the Indonesian army over the last month and frequent border incursions will be the main focus of a border liaison meeting which will be convened in Indonesia later this week.

The PNGDF top brass at Murray Barracks have remained tight-lipped due to the sensitivity of the issue, though it is understood soldiers deployed to police the border are under strict instructions not to return fire if they engaged or caught in a crossfire between the OPM and members of the Indonesian army.

However, a PNG Government official speaking on condition of anonymity said the April 19 incident could have escalated if a PNGDF soldier was injured when they came under fire.

"It could have been worse if any of our soldiers were injured during the shootout on the morning of April 19, it (the situation) is very sensitive at the moment," he said. The PNG ambassador to Indonesia, Commodore Peter Ilau (retired), will lead the PNG delegation to the border liaison meeting.

Source: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2014/May/05-05-02.htm

ENDS

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