21 Jun 2006

Former PNG Defence Head warns of border weakness

8:05 pm on 21 June 2006

A former commander of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force says his country needs to boost its ability to protect the border with Indonesia.

Retired Major-General, Jerry Singirok, says the Australian-backed downsizing of the defence force has left PNG unable to properly protect the 750 kilometre long border.

General Singirok says the area sees illegal trading, money laundering, gun smuggling and illegal migration.

He also says that the government and top military brass cannot be complacent when Indonesia is home to Jemaah Islamiah whose terrorists could easily cross into PNG.

General Singirok says comments by the current head of PNG's defence Force that the Indonesian troop build-up along the Papua border is "normal" are incorrect:

"It is not normal for Indonesian military build-up on their side of the border, because they're definitely reacting on some important intelligence information and that's why it's very important on our side of the border to be prepared to meet whatever consequence of the build-up on the other side."

Major-General, Jerry Singirok,