PNG - Indonesian border opens, then closes as OPM strikes


Thu 05 Jun 2014

Papua New Guinea
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WUTUNG, PNG --- The Indonesia-PNG border was officially opened on Tuesday this week but closed down again three hours later due to the killing of an Indonesian soldier by OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) rebels.

Security officials told the Post-Courier the joint Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and the government team stationed at Wutung closed down the border again to crossers because of the killing.

They said the PNGDF soldiers closed the border to crossers specifically for security reasons and to protect the PNG citizens that are crossing to do business across Batas and those that maintain their markets at the PNG side of the border.

“The PNGDF soldiers have been instructed not to allow Papua New Guinea citizens to cross over to Indonesia at the PNG-Indonesian boarder at Wutung for security reasons,” the officials said.

“The situation at the border has become tense again and there is no guarantee that the lives of PNG citizens will be protected. The OPM rebels killed one Indonesian soldier after attacking the Indonesian establishment at Batas, so for security reasons because it was unsafe for PNG citizens, our officials on the ground closed the gates.

“We officially opened the border for general business after it was closed amid fears over a shooting incident in April this year. We had a small ceremony for it at 11:30 am on Tuesday and three hours later, at 3 pm our soldiers closed the gates again because of the killing of one of the Indonesian soldiers by the OPM rebels.

“Just in case there is a shootout between the OPM rebels and the Indonesian army, we don’t want any of our PNG citizens and soldiers to be caught up in this fight.”

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