2) Smuggling Between PNG, Indonesia Becoming ‘Lucrative’
3) Wutung Border Between PNG, Indonesia Still Closed, Unsafe
4) PNG, Indonesia set for border talks
5) PNG Indonesia border reported to be still unsafe
The National, Tuesday April 22nd, 2014
PNG Defence Force Bravo Company commander Major Peter Waiaki said a meeting was held last week between Government officials from PNG and Indonesia to discuss security and border issues.
But a shooting incident which killed a civilian and skirmishes between West Papua rebels and Indonesian soldiers had created another tense situation.
“Indonesia security must first guarantee PNG citizens safety before the border will be re-opened for business activities at the Batas market,” Waiaki said.
Waiaki said once the Indonesia military could guarantee that the area was clear of OPM militants, the border would be re-opened for trading.
He said ground patrols must be effective, especially in the bushes to clear the area of rebels.
“Border security issues are very sensitive issues because they directly affected people living along the borders. And before opening the border, we should consider those who will be affected the most,” Waiaki said.
2) Smuggling Between PNG, Indonesia Becoming ‘Lucrative’Items such as guns, ammo, cigarettes, liquor move freely across border
By Haiveta Kivia
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2014) – Smuggling at the Papua New Guinea-Indonesian border is fast becoming a lucrative business and both countries are missing out on taxes, import and export duties in the range of millions of kina and billions of rupiah.
Ironically, PNG Customs had a week-long meeting last week at the Vanimo Beach Hotel which was based on enforcement.
But they refused to be interviewed by this reporter on what their gathering was all about.
While they were there, smugglers told this reporter that they land guns and ammunition at the Vanimo beaches or take them as far as Aitape, Wewak and Bogia.
In Bogia, the smuggled arms make their way into Madang, Lae, Highlands and New Guinea Island regions. It is that easy and simple.
This reporter spent four days from April 14-18, in Vanimo to follow up on the border skirmishes between the Organisasi Papua Merdeka (OPM) and the Indonesia forces, which led to the burning down of Indonesian Government infrastructure and the lowering of Indonesian flag, and the raising of Morning Star and United Nations flags.
While in Vanimo, it couldn’t be ignored that the residents smoke Indonesian cigarettes, drink their soft drinks and dress in clothes coming across the border.
These cigarettes are sold in bulk, in packets and as single cigarettes.
This reporter interviewed randomly-picked individuals and what they told him was no secret with how the province’s informal sector operates.
A cigarette seller said he went to Jayapura just last week by boat and bought K2340 worth of cigarettes, and that is 80 inners, and was selling an inner for K50 and a packet for K6.
He will earn over K4000 and make a profit of K1660 or more – and it is all tax free.
A quick scan of the market revealed many others selling the same or more quantities of cigarettes.
The Post-Courier interviewed simple informal sector vendors and they turned out to be involved as bootleggers, contraband smugglers and boat operators, who move the cargoes with ease.
Many are seen as street vendors involved in the informal sector in and around Vanimo, the provincial capital of West Sepik Province, but they are more than that and they have their pockets lined with Indonesian rupiah and PNG kina.
Furthermore, interviews with many young men at Vanimo revealed an illicit industry that is making huge profits without paying any form of taxes, and in the disguise of the informal sector.
They also told this newspaper how they are able to land their outboard motor powered fibreglass boats in places as far as Aitape, Wewak and Bogia.
In Vanimo, the women also help to sell the items and it is seen as normal in the township to be selling Indonesian made goods.
Contraband is sold openly at the main market in Vanimo, on street markets in the town and along road side markets in the province.
Bootlegs (smuggled alcohol) are sold discreetly but licensed premises sell them openly and whether they import it and pay import duties is a big question no one has answers for.
The smugglers and their associates have named the PNG officials from PNG Customs, Immigration, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, Quarantine and even the PNG Defence Force as "kaikai man."
"We bribe these ‘kaikai man’ with beer and other alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and women for sex," said one of the interviewees.
They also take over to Indonesia gold, eaglewood roots, sandalwood and manufactured goods such as Ox & Palm corned beef and Twisties snacks, which are of very high demand across the border.
One man earned around K300,000 in just a month and is a traditional border crosser from one of the villages near Vanimo.
He said a kilogram of eaglewood root is now fetching a cool K15,300 per kilo across the border if you go all the way to Jayapura.
"It is enticing," he said.
3) Wutung Border Between PNG, Indonesia Still Closed, UnsafePNG Defence Force offers no guaranty of protection for citizens
By Haiveta Kivia
PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 22, 2014) – Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers have been instructed not to allow Papua New Guinea citizens to cross over to Indonesia at the PNG-Indonesian boarder at Wutung, West Sepik Province.
The commanding officer of PNG forces at the border, Major Peter Waiaki, told the media in Vanimo that the situation at the border is still tense and there is no guarantee that the lives of PNG citizens will be protected.
Maj Waiaki said the OPM (Organisasi Papua Merdeka) rebels were attacking the Indonesian establishment at Batas and Indonesian officials randomly and it was still unsafe for PNG citizens.
The border was re-opened last Wednesday by the Indonesians and the acting Governor of Sandaun Provincial Government Paul Negai in a meeting held at the Indonesian government establishment at Batas.
The Post-Courier was not invited to the meeting even though journalists from other PNG media organisations were invited and sat in the meeting.
Maj Waiaki’s point of the border still been risky was further emphasised by the OPMs when they ambushed the Indonesian delegation as they left Batas after the meeting.
An Indonesian national was injured in the ambush and it was later reported that he died from heavy loss of blood.
Maj Waiaki had earlier said that OPM rebels capitalise on special occasions and special people and try as much to disrupt such activities and visits to draw attention to their cause for self determination and independence.
This was exactly what the OPMs did, put a mark on the border meeting, to say that they are still around.
PNGDF soldiers tried to rid the OPMs in and around the Wutung area by burning down bush camps belonging to the Wamena people from the highlands of the Papua Province of the Republic of Indonesia.
The camps were first razed on Friday April 11 and again on April 14 but the Wamena people, regarded as the spear heads of the OPM’s fight against the Indonesian rule and for a free West Papua, are still around the West Sepik province and along the west coast towards the Indonesian border.
Major Waiaki also asked the media, especially Post-Courier, not to sensationalise the issue as it was both a security risk to his men and lives of PNG citizens.
However, a senior public servant in Vanimo confided that all the Post-Courier reports were factual except for the PNGDF reinforcements from Igam, Moem and Port Moresby.
He said the Post-Courier has been on the spot with what was happening on the ground and should be commended.
This reporter also visited the border on Wednesday and it was very quiet, with the Covec Engineering workers working on the PNG Government’s border infrastructures and four PNG soldiers guarding the PNG officials’ vehicles, parked on our side of the border.
Fast asleep on a bench in the waiting area was a lone PNG Citizen, probably from Wutung, glad in his motorcycle helmet and oblivious to his surroundings.
At the crest of the Bougainville ridge is situated the international border with a clearing housing, our Government infrastructures and to the right is the cliff dropping down to the sea at Wutung. To the left is a dense jungle and steep ravine that can’t be easily accessed.
The OPMs are launching their attacks and making their escapes through there.
5) PNG Indonesia border reported to be still unsafe
Updated at 10:12 am today
Reports from Papua New Guinea says PNG citizens has been told not to cross the border with Indonesia at the Wutung crossing because it is not safe.
The Post Courier reports the commanding officer of PNG forces at the border, Major Peter Waiaki, told the media in Vanimo that the situation at the border is still tense and there is no guarantee that the lives of PNG citizens will be protected.
Major Waiaki said the OPM rebels were attacking the Indonesian establishment at Batas and Indonesian officials randomly and it was still unsafe for PNG citizens.
The border was re-opened last Wednesday.