PNG’s Border Security Lacks Manpower And Logistics Support

Land border and sea with Indonesia were porous and smuggling of counterfeit, illicit substances and illegal crossings were rife

By Miriam Zarriga

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, November 24, 2016) – Better networking and legislative powers will protect the borders of PNG. Assistant Police Commissioner Border Divisional Command Donald Yamasombi said that manpower and logistical support was a problem in three border provinces.

They included West and East Sepik, South Fly and North Fly in Western province of which he is in charge.

He said that in West Sepik with its 80 police officers were inadequate to cover the land mass and population.

"Western Province is a big province and it is mainly waterlogged with 98,000 square kilometers of land, it is in proximity of Australia and is a 30-minute boat ride from the province, given the number of police officers it is very hard to police the sea and land surrounding the province.

"We also have issues with the Indonesia border and for our part we need to establish a network, information gathered should be shared, because police cannot achieve on its own its limited to legislative powers other agencies have legislations we can piggyback on to work together," he said.

Mr Yamasombi said that the land border and sea with Indonesia were porous and smuggling of counterfeit, illicit substances and illegal crossings were rife.

"Most of the trades included PNG smuggling of marijuana into Indonesia, counterfeit cigarettes from Indonesia smuggled into PNG, evasion of tax, firearms were smuggled in, poaching of flora and fauna, illegal fishing in PNG waters and illegal border crossings.

"The challenges we face include the lack of effective inter-agency operability, lack of funding and lack of political will, there is also RPNGC that lacks appropriate legislations.

"There are two things I would like to see achieved, I would like to see the management and investigators have an understanding what is required to assist them to work, I feel that we can achieve that and understanding transnational crime will allow them to work together.

"I would also like to see better networking between all agencies to achieve protection for our borders," he said.

PNG Post-Courier
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