13 May 2014

PNG Minister - identifying border rebels hard

7:53 am on 13 May 2014

Papua New Guinea's Defence Minister denies that Indonesia's military has established installations on PNG territory.

Fabian Pok says that with Indonesian officials he has discussed reports their military set up a base in PNG's Western Province.

Dr Pok says there is no permanent establishment by the Indonesian military in PNG.

Meanwhile, he says the government is working with Indonesia to investigate a recent spate of skirmishes involving the Indonesian military and members of the OPM Free West Papua Movement at the PNG border.

Dr Pok has played down reports that PNG's Defence Force has a problem with the Indonesians making incursions across the border in pursuit of OPM rebels.

"Because as I told you earlier, it's thick, thick forest so we don't know who is who. How can you tell an OPM member from a villager who is gardening on one side and living on the other side of the border. They're one and the same people, they all look alike."

Fabian Pok