REPATRIATION PLAN FOR IRIAN JAYANS IN PNG POSTPONED

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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya (March 22, 1999 - Antara/Kabar-Irian)---Irian Jaya Governor Freddy Numberi said here Monday a plan to repatriate 147 Indonesian families from a resettlement camp in Kiungga in Papua New Guinea (PNG) had to be postponed for security reasons.

Irian Jayan GPK ("Security Disturbers' Gang") elements were still active in the sub-districts of Muting and Bupul in Merauke district, the areas to which the would-be repatriates would return.

"We will be able to repatriate them probably after the June 1999 general election," Numberi told newsmen.

Most of the 147 Indonesian families hailed from villages situated along the Indonesia-PNG border.

They had frequently expressed their intention to return to their home villages and the local administration of Merauke was making preparations to resettle them there.

The preparations included building homes for them as their old homes had become uninhabitable.

According to Numberi, the Indonesians had crossed the border and entered PNG mainly because they had been provoked or forced by the GPK.

In one such instance, GPK members had herded about 200 people from Waropko sub-district into PNG territory after attacking their village.

Governor Numberi appealed to GPK groups which were still roaming the forests to come out from the wild and resume a normal life and take part in the efforts to develop Irian Jaya together with their fellow Irian Jayans.

He said, if the GPK groups kept on attacking innocent residents, the provincial administration would request more Indonesian Armed Forces troops to come to Irian Jaya to deal with them.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") For assistance, please e-mail: help-bi@irja.org (auto-responder) or admin@irja.org World Wide Web: http://www.irja.org

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