PNG-Papua border closed

By Netani Rika

INDONESIA has closed its border with Papua New Guinea as violence continues in Papua.

Shots were heard by Indonesian troops on Tuesday with reports of increased rebel activity in the area.

The Organisasi Papua Merdeka (Papuan Freedom Organisation) is believed to be active in the border region after Indonesian security forces and state-backed armed militia attacked and killed indigenous protesters last month.

Indonesians – mainly of Javanese and Sumatran ethnicity – have been killed in retaliatory attacks in the past week with tensions continuing to escalate in Jayapura and Wamena.

The official Antara News Agency has reported that Indonesia temporarily closed the Skouw-Wutung Border Post in Muara Tami Subdistrict, Jayapura City, Papua Province, on Tuesday following the sound of gunshots.

Indonesia maintains a company of Border Protection Task Force troops at Skouw, while PNG has a platoon of soldiers at Wutung with reinforcements in reserve at Vanimo, about 40kilometres away.

Major Dony Gredinand confirmed the temporary closure of the border post which stopped trade at the Skouw and Wutung markets. He said several gunshots were heard around 6am yesterday and as a result, local residents were afraid. No injuries were reported.