Jayapura, Jubi – Papua New Guinea soldiers have taken down Indonesian flags at Jaknyu Village of Sota Sub-district, Merauke Regency, Papua Province.
A witness said 15 people believed to be PNG soldiers took down three Indonesian flags during a border patrol on August 7.
“They dropped down the flags in three locations, namely at in front of the church, in front of the house of the neighborhood unit chief, and at RI-PNG border. Their commander instructed them to do so, because he thought as located in the neutral international region, both Indonesian and PNG’s flags should be standing side by side,” said a witness who decline to be named.
He added the soldiers immediately lowered the Indonesia flags when local residents said they didn’t want to do it. Antara News Agency reported the Military Regional Force Chief of Cenderawih XVII, Brigadier General Tantang Sulaiman explained based on the report the Indonesian flags were being drop because the PNG soldiers thought it’s a neutral region therefore the flags of both countries should be stand side by side. Before dropping the Indonesian flag in the three locations, they were recognized to come into Indonesian area without permission. However, he said their motive is still unknown.
Meanwhile, Military District Commander of 174 Merauke, Brigadier General Supartodi admitted PNG soldiers came into Indonesian region without permission in the early of August.
“On last 7 August, a group of PNG soldiers came into Jaknyu Village and Rawa Bening Village of Sota Sub-district in Merauke Regency without prior announcement to the local government and security forces as well,” said the commander as cited by Antara News Agency on Thursday (13/8/2015). The report said they came to the villages to bring foodstuffs to eleven family units who stayed in that location.
Brigadier General Supartodi admitted those foodstuffs was given to Jaknyu Village, although the village is 1,200 meters away from the RI-PNG border. “Before this incident happened, we have coordinated this matter with the Merauke Regent and planned to replace the eleven family units to the nearest village but they refused,” he explained.
According to him, the villagers do not want to move because besides get provision from the Merauke Village, they also get attention from the Indonesian Government and PNG. For that reason they do not want to be moved,” he said by adding that in July the eleven family units consisting of 68 people has been listed and provided with ID cards. It needs six hours to reach the village by land or three hours using the motor board from Rawa Biru, Sota Sub-district, Merauke Regency (Victor Mambor/rom)