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Poaching in Western Province a Serious Security Concern : Namah

 PNG Leader of the Opposition,  Belden Namah called upon the Government to quickly deploy security forces members to the mouth of the Torasi River in Western Province to put a stop to Indonesian fishermen poaching in PNG waters.

Mr Namah said the fishing activity is been on going from reports and the danger is extremely high of COVID-19 transmission at this location.

“I have reports backed up by photographs of up to 25 fishing boats moored on the Torasi River on Thursday, October 21st 2021.

“While these boats are clearly and illegally in PNG waters, the greater danger at this time is COVID-19 transmission and they could possibly be engaged in illegal human smuggling activities.

“COVID-19 positive cases and deaths have spiked in Western Province and one would expect this area to be heavily guarded and all border crossing activities even by traditional border crossers to be suspended.

Illegal Human Smuggling activities are also ripe along the PNG-Indonesian Border from Wutung in West Sepik Province to Torasi in Western Province.

“Article 5 of the 1980 Agreement of Maritime Boundaries and Cooperation stipulates that both countries will respect the rights of customary landowners to fish either side of the borders ‘using traditional methods’.

“The fishing boats I have seen in the photos clearly do not fit the description so they have to be poaching.

“Instead of operating in their comfort zones in Port Moresby COVID-19 Controller who is also the Police Commissioner, Defence Force Commander, Immigrations and Customs & Border Patrol should be touring these red zones for first-hand information, monitoring and surveillance.”

“Instead of concentrating resources on vaccination rollout, they should be guarding our international borders to prevent transmission and also stop these illegal activities by Indonesians.”

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