16 Apr 2009

PNG's Baki says no locals were hurt in Indonesia-PNG border fighting

11:13 am on 16 April 2009

Papua New Guinea's Police Commissioner says no local people have been harmed in recent fighting along the common border of Indonesia and PNG which reports say has left eleven people dead and many houses burnt down around the Wutung area.

PNG media reports say that six Indonesian soldiers and five Papuans were killed in the border fighting between Indonesian military and Papuan separatists late last week.

The Commissioner, Gary Baki, says he is unable to confirm the deaths because the fighting occurred on the Indonesian side of the border.

However he says the fighting has coincided with a large build-up of Indonesian troops hunting separatists in the border area.

"That's the way it normally happens and that's normally the reaction when you have a situation like this along the border. And people are living there, it's the normal course of reaction on what they do. They just move through the bush there and when they come across any shelters or villages that they believe may house people, they just burn them down."

Gary Baki says PNG police and defence force personnel are monitoring the situation on the PNG side.