10 Feb 2014

PNG military accused of forcing missing Papuans into the water

11:17 am on 10 February 2014

Five Indonesian fishermen remained missing on Sunday after military officers in neighbouring Papua New Guinea allegedly told them to jump off their boat before setting it on fire.

The Jakarta Globe reports 10 fishermen from the Papua district of Merauke were on board a fishing boat searching for sea cucumbers, near the border between Indonesia and PNG, on Thursday, when they were accused of breaching the border.

Dozens of PNG military soldiers stopped the boat, and brought the men on board the military ship, before setting the boat on fire.

The Papua Police spokesman Senior Commander Pujo Sulistyo, says the fishermen were then told to jump into waters approximately five kilometers away from the coast.

He says five were able to reach the shore but the whereabouts of the other five are unknown.

On Sunday, a joint team from the Indonesian Navy, the National Search and Rescue Agency and local volunteers were searching for the five missing fishermen.

The commander of the Indonesian Navy's Merauke office, Brigadier General Buyung Lalana, says the Navy is investigating the matter.