31 Jan 2003

Papuan rebels reportedly adhere to deadline to leave PNG

4:40 pm on 31 January 2003

Papua New Guinea authorities say any Papuan rebels remaining on PNG soil will be arrested after the deadline for them to return to the Indonesian province of Papua lapsed this week.

OPM rebels hiding out near the border with Papua were given 21 days until last Wednesday to move off PNG soil and dismantle their training camps.

The acting provincial administrator in Sandaun, Joseph Sungi, says reports he's recieved indicate the rebels have complied with the deadline.

Mr Sungi says police are patrolling the province to confirm the rebels have left, and any who remain will face swift action under PNG laws.

"We're concerned about the illegal activities by the rebels... they will apprehended and brought to court and charged and then the provincial office will decide what to do with them."

Joseph Sungi.