14 Jul 2008

Local reports say Indonesian soldiers making frequent incursions to PNG

12:59 pm on 14 July 2008

Indonesian soldiers are reported to be defying diplomatic and military protocols by violating international border agreements with Papua New Guinea.

The newspaper, The National, reports that there have been numerous border incursions allegedly made by the Indonesians in the past few months and as recently as the weekend.

The information is to be tabled in PNG's parliament by the Forestry Minister Belden Namah who was informed of the incursions by villagers and PNG Defence Force border personnel in Vanimo.

He was told that in one such incident, Indonesian soldiers defaced a cement PNG border monument by spray-painting it with their battalion symbol.

Angry PNG police and soldiers could not retaliate as there were no specific rules of engagement in place.

Instead, all they could do was face the Indonesians and order them to leave PNG soil.

PNG villagers in the area claim the Indonesian soldiers have harassed them about being on Indonesian territory.

A proposed joint border meeting has been deferred for two years.