INDONESIAN WARPLANES CROSS PNG AIRSPACE

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Incidents follow land incursions along border

By Clifford Faiparik and Harlyne Joku

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Aug. 22, 2008) –An Indonesian military plane crossed twice into PNG airspace over the weekend in the Sandaun province, Sandaun police commander Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng said yesterday.

"Last Friday, at about 10.30pm, the plane went 8km into the PNG side of the border and flew to the Neo Kongo area before turning back to Jayapura.

"The plane followed the same route again on Sunday at about 1.30pm."

Mr Kasieng said land incursions by the Indonesian army had stopped but now incursions of PNG airspace were occurring.

"We have raised concerns about the incursions during last month’s border meeting in Jayapura and Indonesian officials had assured that such incidents would stop.

"However, with such incidences recurring, we want them to end immediately.

"The incursions are causing fear to our people living along the border," Mr Kasieng said.

Indonesian consular in Vanimo Sutar Windargo denied the incusions saying their military plane’s engines were loud and he could have heard it from Vanimo although it was 45km away from the border.

Meanwhile, at the Indonesian embassy Defence Attaché Col Drs Pasenga Talilah has refuted recent reports claiming an Indonesian military build up at the PNG-Indonesian border.

Col Talilah said Indonesia had only one battalion stationed at their border station at Arso, which monitors the 820km border

Reliable sources reported this week that there was a build up of two battalions of Indonesia’s territorial forces along the Wutung border down towards the south in the Western province.

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