The National – Wednesday, December 29, 2010
By MALUM NALU
PAPUAN border crossers’ leader Jonathan Baure yesterday revealed all about his members crossing into Australia, their treatment at the hands of Australian authorities, and of his apprehension in Daru last weekend when he had never physically crossed over into Australia.
In an interview with The National from the Boroko police station cell, where he was being detained, Baure expressed disappointment at the way the matter was reported in both the Australian and PNG media.
He said of the 16 dinghies carrying 122 people, which were confiscated by Australian authorities last Wednesday, one made it onto Cape York Peninsula on the northernmost tip of the mainland where its passengers disembarked and raised the Papuan flag before being arrested.
“Two dinghies were stopped outside of Horn Island, which is in the special quarantine zone,” he added.
“Nine were held at Tudo, on the border of the treaty zone and the special quarantine zone.
“The last four dinghies were in the quarantine zone but were sent back (to Daru).
“The total number of people who crossed was 122, and the total number of people who actually landed on the mainland itself was just eight.
“The first lot of 30 people was flown back the same afternoon to Daru, and their dinghies and outboard motors confiscated.”
Baure said they decided to take this action because Australian High Commission staff in Port Moresby had not paid attention to their claims that they were Australian citizens, despite acknowledgement by former prime minister Kevin Rudd.
Meanwhile, another well-placed source told The National yesterday that members of the Papuan group were now stranded en masse in Daru, because all their money, amounting to thousands of kina, had been confiscated by the transnational crime unit.