MP alleges intrusion by Indonesian military

Opposition Leader and Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah, has alleged intrusions by the Indonesian military into PNG.

Namah made this statement at the recent Parliament sitting, where he questioned the Prime Minister on what the Government is doing about the West Papua unrest.

Namah highlighted that the Tami River at Wutung, Sandaun Province, and Torasi in Western Province serve as a natural demarcation between the PNG and Indonesian border. On the other hand, his electorate of Vanimo-Green, Telefomin and North Fly in Western Province serve as buffer zones in that they separate hostile forces.

Hence the Opposition Leader raised his concern on the floor of Parliament.

“My people have been hearing planes flying over our boundary,” Namah stated. “If it’s not serious, Mr Speaker, I want you to know that it’s a very serious issue.

“Mr Speaker, what is the Prime Minister doing with the safety of our people who are living on the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea? Mr Speaker, can the Prime Minister inform this Parliament if his Government has a policy on national border surveillance strategy and border demarcation plans including air, sea and land?”

In response, Prime Minister James Marape said upon hearing of issues of human rights abuse, he had summoned the Indonesian ambassador to his office, where he expressed PNG’s dissatisfaction, which was then conveyed to the Palace in Jakarta.

“The response we got from Indonesia was that the President is interfacing more with the people in West Papua and in fact, he has made one known trip since the incident has happened,” stated Marape. “He has engaged with the equivalent of Council of Chiefs on the other side and they’re having this engagement that is going on.

“Mr Speaker, the question in relation to what is our foreign policy; our government will not reinvent the wheel. And as far as foreign policies are concerned, we maintain the very good policy anchored in 1975, that we are friends to all and enemies to none. That is the generic foreign policy we have.”

Marape further said whatever happens within Indonesian borders is an issue that belongs to the sovereign state of Indonesia. As a neighbouring nation, PNG can only share its views and advice, and express its concerns using proper diplomatic channels.

Carmella Gware