A former PNG provincial governor says the purpose of a large-scale security crackdown in the border area of Vanimo in West Sepik is primarily to reinstate law and order.
A group of 77 Papuans were arrested during the operation and the acting deputy police commissioner says they were assessed for links with the Papua liberation movement, OPM.
John Tekwie, a former governor of West Sepik, says dealing with OPM activity is not the security operation's main focus.
"The police presence is welcome because of the general breakdown of Papua New Guinea laws in all these issues regarding the border, like customs, you know, illicit drugs trafficking and all these arms smuggling, and workers without work permits and all this kind of thing. And police have been getting a lot of money from timber companies operating in Vanimo and it brought down the town to a situation where public confidence in government was totally absent."