14 Apr 2009

11 reported killed in Indonesian-Papuan clash on PNG border

7:25 pm on 14 April 2009

Eleven people have reportedly been killed - six of them Indonesian soldiers and five Papuan separatists - in fighting at the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea at the beginning of Easter.

The Post Courier newspaper reports the clash also resulted in the destruction of a church building, fuel depot and many houses at Batas, the check point at the PNG/Indonesia border near Wutung.

Reports from Wutung and police in Vanimo confirmed that the separatists also shot down an Indonesia C130 Hercules military aircraft and destroyed a bridge.

According to the Vanimo police commander, a number of public buildings and houses were burnt by Indonesia soldiers at Ankasa and Wainda, leaving hundreds of people homeless.

However a spokesman at the Indonesian consulate in Vanimo has denied that anyone was killed during fighting, saying what took place was a small amount of fighting only.

Meanwhile, a special meeting was held at the weekend by PNG and Indonesian government officials who issued a warning to the general public and tourists travelling through the border.

The shoot-out has forced the closure of the border to all travellers as well as traditional villagers from Wutung going to their gardens on the Indonesia side of the border.