26 Jan 2011

PNG police say 77 Papuan border-crossers to be transported to refugee camp

3:07 pm on 26 January 2011

A spokesperson for the Papua New Guinea police says 77 Papuan people who've crossed the border with Indonesia will be transported today from the border town of Vanimo to a refugee camp at East Arwin.

Dominic Kakas says PNG residents of the town, which has also become home to Papuan refugees since the 1960s, have been calling for tighter border security for some time.

He says there's been no pressure from Indonesia but in strengthening border controls PNG is respecting that country's sovereignty.

Mr Kakas says there've been reports of people smuggling, gun trafficking, resource poaching and death threats and police are in the process of confirming the extent of those problems.

He says the police are also trying to track down any training camps for the Papuan liberation movement, the OPM, on the PNG side of the border.

Mr Kakas says the PNG authorities sympathise with the detained people, who include women and children, and they're being treated well.

He says the acting deputy police commissioner, Fred Yakasa, whom he's accompanied on a visit to Vanimo that finishes today, will submit recommendations on improving border security upon his return to the capital.

However Mr Kakas says there are many issues to take into account with a border more than 700 kilometres long.