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PNG Security Forces capture 8 Indonesians in Western Province

Papua New Guinea Security forces have captured eight  Indonesian men in the waters of Western Province are being detained at the Daru Police Station cells.

They are being questioned and appropriate charges will be laid against them under the State of Emergency Act, Fisheries Act, and Immigration Act.

Three were arrested at Wariobodoro village at the mouth of the Fly River while five were arrested at Torobina village along the Bamu River.

Acting Provincial Police Commander for South Fly Senior Inspector Ewai Segi said the men have been buying fish balloons from locals and police have the exhibits which will be produced in court as evidence when a magistrate deals with the case.

Five other Indonesian caught fishing illegally in PNG waters in the beginning of this year are still waiting to be repatriated to Indonesia after the district court suspended their sentences.

Senior Inspector Segi said the Immigration officer on the ground is making further arrangements for their repatriation to Indonesia through diplomatic channel.

Meanwhile two teams comprising health and security personnel were airlifted to the border villages earlier this week to collect samples for testing from people in those villages.

The threat of the coronavirus entering PNG through the border with Indonesia remains very high with people crossing the PNG Indonesia border daily despite the Government ban in place.

Senior Inspector Segi said the teams are expected to collect more than 200 samples from the hot-spot border villages of Weam, Wereave, Bula, Zarai, Tire'ere and Serki.

National Emergency Controller David Manning said the northern and southern border areas is PNG's single biggest threat with the increasing number of coronavirus cases in Indonesia.

In a statement, Mr Manning said people along the border provinces and from the Highlands provinces have been traveling into Merauke and Jayapura to buy cheap Indonesian products or to sell vanilla and other items.

He said the government has sent health response teams to do tests as well as conduct awareness to stop Papua New Guineans going across the border.

Mr Manning said personnel from the PNG Defence Force and police are also patrolling the land and sea borders.

Controller Manning said he would continue to make orders to mitigate the risk of the spread of this pandemic and the restrictions would remain until Papua New Guineans changed their attitudes.

NBC News/ PNG Today

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