PNG targets rebel camps along Indonesian border

PNG targets rebel camps along Indonesian border
Radio Astralia News, 18 January 2011

By: Firmin Nanol

New Guinea's government has deployed a joint security operation to destroy alleged free West Papua activist training camps along the PNG-Indonesia border.

The government says illegal activities in Vanimo along its side of the border pose a national security threat to its sovereignty.

The joint border security operation comes amid reports Indonesian soldiers have illegally crossed the border in pursuit of Free Papua Movement (OPM) rebels on PNG soil.

The operation codenamed, ''Sunset Merona'' was approved and deployed last week.

Commander Jerry Frank says the aim is to stop the largely unregulated movement of people and goods across the porous border.

"[Things such as] money laundering, drugs and guns exchanges, human smuggling, items like pornographic materials," he said.

He says authorities are particularly keen to prevent members of the secessionist Free Papua Movement crossing into PNG.

PNG's local MP for Vanimo, Belden Namah, says illegal activities along the PNG-Indonesia border are an on-going problem.

Mr Namah says it's a real national security threat to his people and the country.

He says the PNG government should find a long term solution to the border problems.

The operation is due to run for six weeks.