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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 26) - Indonesian police last week arrested 17 Wutung villagers who had gone on a hunting expedition armed with seven shotguns and a rifle.

The 17 men had crossed to the Indonesian side of the border while hunting and were arrested and taken to police custody in Jayapura, sources said from Vanimo yesterday.

The sources said the 17 men were released last Friday after PNG border officials met with their Indonesian counterparts in Vanimo.

However, the guns have been confiscated by Indonesian police, who are refusing to give them back to the villagers.

Under the border agreement between the two countries, traditional border crossers, who are people living along the border on both sides, are allowed to hunt on both sides of the border, but only with traditional weapons such as bows and arrows. The use of firearms is not allowed on such hunting trips.

According to the sources, the villagers are insisting that the Indonesian police release their firearms. This has created tension along the border near Vanimo.

PNG Foreign Affairs Department officials are expected to meet with their Indonesian counterparts this week to discuss the matter.

January 26, 2004

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:


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