INDONESIA, PNG TO COOPERATE ON BORDER GUNS

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By Sinclaire Solomon

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 31) – Indonesia is to provide a list of firearms it manufactures to help Papua New Guinea tackle the growing guns and drugs trade between the two countries.

In return, it has asked Papua New Guinea to furnish serial numbers of confiscated Indonesian-made firearms allegedly smuggled across the border in the past few years.

The data would help Jakarta determine how many firearms were being smuggled through Indonesia from a third country and what counter-measures to take.

The understanding was reached at the recent border liaison meeting in Manus.

Indonesia also expressed concerned over Papua New Guineans who cross the border to hunt, using guns.

It deems the crossing as illegal and warned that those caught would be charged accordingly under Indonesian law.

Simon Namis, the Foreign Affairs and Immigration Department’s acting director-general (Asia) who led the Papua New Guinea delegation, said in his report that the gun and drugs trade along the border was increasing.

He said air rifles with telescopic sights were being exchanged for drugs and taken to Enga, through West Sepik and East Sepik.

[PIR editor’s note: East and West Sepik are located in the northern region of the Papua New Guinea Western Province near the Indonesian border.]

The Indonesia delegation explained that firearms licenses were not easily given.

"Applicants must undergo strict scrutiny including health, mental and psychological tests, apart from explaining why they want to own a gun," Mr. Namis said.

However, controls on air rifles were less stringent.

"They are used to shoot small game, snakes, birds and mouse, or for sporting purposes. To buy such rifles, the buyers are only required to show their identification cards.

"Because of the easy accessibility such rifles are found in PNG, brought into and assembled easily by people who have visited Jayapura and Merauke," he said.

Indonesia would also provide information on Papua New Guineas serving jail terms at the next border committee meeting in Vanimo next year.

There were more than 10 Papua New Guineans, including a police sergeant, in prisons around Jayapura.

Most of them were jailed for entering Indonesia illegally and smuggling.

November 1, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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