1 Dec 2008

Wainggai and daughter were coerced to return to Indonesia, says West Papuan

8:08 pm on 1 December 2008

A member of Melbourne's West Papuan community says that two asylum seekers who have left Australia to return to Indonesia have been coerced into the move.

Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry has confirmed that two of the group of 43 Papua asylum seekers who fled to Australia in 2006, Yunus Wainggai and his daughter Anike, have returned home.

Earlier, supporters of the two Papuans voiced concern that the pair had gone missing following a recent interview with Australian Federal Police.

Melbourne-based Papuan student, Richard Rumbiak, says the pair were taken in by Indonesian agents and coerced to leave.

"That's what all the West Papuans here in Melbourne, we believe: they've been forced to return to West Papua by the Indonesian government, and the intelligence services here in Melbourne, that's why they disappeared for two weeks before they left."

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Foreign Affairs Ministry has denied that there was force involved in their decision to return home, but says Mr Wainggai was promised money and a job.