143 IRIAN JAYAN BORDER CROSSERS STILL IN PNG

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MERAUKE, Irian Jaya (January 23, 1999 - Antara/Kabar-Irian)---Some 143 Irian Jayan border-crossers who have resided in Papua New Guinea (PNG) territory for years but were scheduled to be repatriated in 1998, have still not arrived in Indonesian territory.

Provincial administration official Leonardus Letsoin said it seemed the 143 Irian Jayans were still at their camp in Kiungga, in PNG territory.

No information was available regarding why the 143 still had not returned, Letsoin said.

According to the original plans, the PNG government was to repatriate the Irian Jayans in August 1998, using two Twin Otter airplanes. Ten of them were to be sent home by land.

The plans had been worked out by representatives of the PNG government, the Catholic church in PNG and the Kiungga village administration.

The border-crossers came from three districts in Irian Jaya, namely Merauke (138), Jayapura (4) and Wamena (1).

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