27 Jan 2011

No evidence of OPM activity on border says PNG priest

2:36 pm on 27 January 2011

A Catholic church official in the Papua New Guinea border town of Vanimo says there's no evidence there of any activity by the Papua liberation movement, OPM.

PNG's acting deputy police commissioner says 77 Papuans arrested in a joint forces border security crackdown are being assessed for links with the organisation.

Fred Yakasa says anyone found not to be a citizen of PNG will be considered an OPM activist and sent to the East Darwin refugee camp.

But the Vanimo Diocese Vicar General, Father Tomy Thomas, says rumours of OPM activity are just that.

"These are not real, there is nothing evident but there are rumours that those are not refugees but some of the OPM hideout or something is there in Papua New Guinea practising fight technique or something like that. There are some rumours like that but there is nothing evident."

Father Tomy Thomas says the Vanimo diocese has been responsible for supplying the detainees with three meals a day and as far as he can tell they are being treated well.