Border people in West Sepik concerned about Indonesian invasion

Papua New Guinea faces threat of invasion by Indonesia through illegal exploitation of resources and competition in being able to deliver services to the border people.

And with PNG being unable to deliver effective government services to the border government stations like Imonda in West Sepik, people there have felt neglected and opted to renounce their PNG citizenship to be Indonesians.

An act which most patriotic nationals there like Lawrence Maksi fear could compromise national security and is a threat to preservation of culture and resources.

What has been the only sigh of relief in development is logging operations that have mostly built gravel roads into these hinterland areas as trade offs for harvesting logs.

People were now able to do some bumpy five hours drive to Vanimo.

Despite this there is apparent lack of return on logging investment in seeing livelihoods being changed.

Maksi from Imonda is a Computer Science graduate from Unitech and works as a field officer for the World Bank funded responsible sustainable program at Imonda.

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He said early this year Indonesian military arrived at a village at Imonda and raised their flag.

The PNGDF soldiers arrived three days later to investigate and secure the border.

Planti moa ol save kam smaglim drag, ammonium na ol narapela samting, ol save exchange wantaim ol pipol bilong boda area na Sepik,” Maksi said.

(A lot of them smuggle drug and ammonium with the border people but some are from Sepik)

He said in return Indonesians provide store goods, other materials and solar lights.

He pointed out that forest resources and gold are potentially attractive to Indonesians who have been on the go, slowly penetrating and extending their border by doing trade with local border villagers.

“We need to develop base camps for army, develop airstrips in Wasengla, Kembratoro and to Daru,” Maksi said.

The Imonda airstrip is now a playing field.

Maksi said OPM rebel activities have gone to a low profile but there are underground activities and with the Walsa people sharing similar culture, land and tradition with hinterland West Papuans-they are sometimes caught in the backlash with Indonesians.

“Papua New Guinea government must defend our security, we cannot,” he said.

Maksi said guns trade is happening but it is done very discretely and not directly with Indonesian military.

The Indonesian military often trespass the border into Wara Pai and then to Kwek.

He said Indonesians are interested in the forest resource and gold believed to be near a mountain in Kwek/Waris.

131219 EN Imonda government station

131219 EN Imonda government station

1 Comment

  1. The Government is deploying PNGDF troops to the Highlands Region focusing more on internal security, which is the RPNGC primary role.
    PNGDF primary role is external security which is along the border. Now there is more force elements in the highlands region than along the PNG RI Border. PNGDF has deviate from it primary constitutional role along the border.