CNN Indonesia, Jakarta – The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government is investigating a video depicting a group of people in military uniforms who claim to be from East Sepik Province in PNG and express their support for the West Papua National Liberation Army (TPNPB).
Papua New Guinea Military commander Maj. Gen. Gilbert Toropo said that the group in the video was not the people nor the security forces of Papua New Guinea.
PNG’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Soroi Eoe also said in a written statement on May 11, 2021 that the group’s statement of support to the TPNPB constituted a criminal act.
Toropo said the group’s action could be considered treason for forming armed forces outside the PNG Military. Therefore, he said, the PNG government would enforce the law on the people involved in the video.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands Andriana Supandy said he and the Indonesian Embassy staff in Port Moresby had talked to the PNG government regarding the video.
“In a response towards the emergence of a video that discredits the Republic of Indonesia, the PNG government has assigned their officials to carry out an investigation in the East Sepik Province,” Supandy said in a written statement on Saturday, May 15, as quoted by Antara.
“The local government worries about potential security threats as the people in the video wear military uniforms while carrying guns,” he added.
Supandy further said that the video did not affect the bilateral relations between the two countries as both governments had committed to uphold the Treaty of Mutual Respect, Friendships, and Cooperation signed in 1986.
“The Papua New Guinea government respects the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia over its territory and considers that the issues in the provinces of Papua and West Papua are the Indonesian government’s home affairs,” Supandy said.