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Indonesian military aircraft breached PNG air space

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 23, 2011) - Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) border with Indonesia in West Sepik province has re-opened after being closed following an unexplained flight by an Indonesian military aircraft into PNG airspace.

On Saturday, the unidentified helicopter flew from Indonesia’s Papua province over the military checkpoint at Wutung and continued five kilometers inland, causing locals to panic.

The Indonesian government had not released any notification for the flight.

The border was closed as PNG citizens were recalled onto their side of the border for their safety.

Father Tomy Tomas of the Catholic diocese in Vanimo says the incident caused confusion.

"The helicopter flew over the PNG border without permission. Now that created some commotion for the people, not knowing what or why they’re making such a helicopter flying over the PNG boundary without due permission. It created confusion among the officers so they just closed it."

[PIR editor’s note: The Melanesian reported in 2008, Indonesian military made unwarranted incursions into Papua New Guinea and harassed residents who lived in and around border villages.]

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