SHORT OF FUNDS, PNG POSTPONES REPATRIATION OF IRIAN JAYA BORDER CROSSERS

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JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (June 19, 2001 – ANTARA/Kabar-Irian)---The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government has postponed the repatriation of 371 border crossers from Indonesia’s Irian Jaya province, purportedly because of a shortage of funds.

Irian Jaya Governor Jaap Salossa told ANTARA here Tuesday that the neighboring country had found itself short of funds to cover repatriation expenses.

In addition to the financing issue, Salossa admitted that some border crossers had been reluctant to be repatriated because of provocation by a third party.

The 371 border crossers, mainly women and children, fled to PNG last November out of fear of being caught in the crossfire in clashes between Indonesian security forces and the separatist Free Papua Movement.

In the beginning, the border crossers lived in the neutral zone in the border area between the two countries.

Later on, however, they moved deeper into PNG territory, as far as Vanimo in Sandaun province.

KABAR-IRIAN ("Irian News") Websites: http://www.irja.org/index2.shtml and http://www.kabar-irian.com 

 

PNG SENDING BACK 30 TO 40 WEST PAPUANS, INCLUDING WENDA AND ALUM, SAYS INDONESIAN CONSUL

JAYAPURA, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (June 22, 2001 – Jakarta Post/PINA Nius Online)---The Papua New Guinea government will deport 30 to 40 West Papuan border crossers, the Indonesian consul for Papua New Guinea has been quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.

They will include Free Papua Movement (OPM) separatist leader Mathias Wenda and his assistant Simon Alum, the newspaper reported.

Consul Wisnu T. Mahendra said the Papua New Guinea government had filed no legal charges against the border crossers, who will be handed to Indonesian authorities to face legal processing.

"The ties between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are close and are not affected by the rising insurgency in Irian Jaya," Wisnu told reporters after meeting with Irian Jaya Governor JP Solossa. "The deportations prove that they trust that we will take the necessary measures."

Free Papua Movement (OPM) rebels have been fighting for the independence of the territory, which Indonesia calls Irian Jaya. It borders Papua New Guinea.

The Jakarta Post said an Irian Jaya police source said the West

Papuans would be handed over to Indonesian authorities today in Wotung village, about two kilometers (1.2 miles) by car from Jayapura, the provincial capital.

Indonesian Mobile Brigade Police are scheduled to accompany the entourage of provincial administration officials to pick up the deported West Papuans, the newspaper said.

The Jakarta Post said the police source also said that apart from being charged with subversion, Mathias Wenda could be charged with killing migrant settlers in 1997 and 2001.

Simon Alum will be charged with, among other things, the beating of a reporter and a cameraman from Indosiar television in late 2000, it said.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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