19 Dec 2003

Papuans return home from PNG after 30 years

4:45 pm on 19 December 2003

Sixty-five residents of Daru in Papua New Guinea have returned to their ancestral home in the Indonesian province of Papua.

The repatriation exercise involved families from Merauke whose fathers and grandfathers had arrived in PNG's Western Province 40 years ago initially to Mabudwan and eventually to Daru Island.

Most of them were part of the second generation of the Kondamarin settlement, which they have called home for the last 30 years.

The Post Courier reports that this is the first repatriation exercise co-ordinated jointly by Indonesian and PNG Government officials.

Indonesian officials say Jakarta will ensure the families are well looked after, trained and educated to adapt to their new home.

An official says the people will be trained to farm the land and help them socialise with the Merauke people to improve their living standards and help them to become self-sufficient.

He says the government had invited them back and stressed they had returned home voluntarily.