Wutung border post entry and exit travel ban still on

The Wutung border post is closed despite a statement by Immigration and Citizenship Authority Minister Westley Nukundj on Tuesday in Parliament that it has been reopened.

Vanimo Town

Wutung Villager Richard Mewi said yesterday everything has slowed down and otherwise come to a ‘full stop’.

“Boda em stil pas yet,” he said.

(The border is still closed)

A week ago he was at Tami River-few kilometers past the international border in Indonesia and when the closure of the entry and exit through Wutung took effect, he had to scramble through the jungle past the border and into his Wutung village.

Minister Nukundj has said the border has reopened after necessary control measures have been put in place to monitor and check the movement of people.

“We have people on the ground to check the movement of people. Government officers on the ground included health officers, the provincial health authority, NAQIA, Immigration and Customs are already at the border,” he said.

Wutung village councilor Ray Tanzy raised a concern last week the indefinite closure of the border post could pose challenges for his people to gather food as 60 per cent of his people’s land extend beyond the international border line with Indonesia.

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The announcement by Nukundj is otherwise favorable news for them but they need to see effect to this.

During the closure only the Papua New Guinea Defence Force members were manning the border.

Mewi said villagers did not hear any information about the reopening through the media except a few who said they saw the announcement on TV.

Last week a provincial intelligence committee led by chairman and provincial administrator Conrad Tilau issued bans to travel in and out of Indonesia, heeding the instruction from the minister.

The province has also issued a security heightened notice in light of the corona virus attack and a multiagency working group was conducting surveillance at sea between Wutung near Indonesia maritime border and Matapau near East Sepik’s provincial border.

The have a working group office based at the provincial administration headquarters in Vanimo.



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