By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE country has been warned to be on the alert for asylum seekers who may come through the borders in Western and West Sepik, before later crossing over to Australia.
Chief Migration Officer Mataio Rabura sounded the warning when he visited areas near the border with Indonesia last week with members of the citizen advisory committee.
“We have to be mindful of third-country citizens coming through from Indonesia with the (ultimate) interest to enter Australia,” he said.
“Australia is now turning refugees (arriving by boat) back to Indonesia. So West Sepik and Western are now the provinces (which may be used) to enter Australia.”
The committee members went to Vanimo to look at the border security facilities.
The committee included chairman William Dihm, the acting Foreign Affairs Secretary, and Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, the Justice and Attorney-General Secretary, and Rabura.
Rabura said communication between Government officials at Wutung near the border with Indonesia, and the border agencies headquarters in Port Moresby, was important.
He said if an asylum seeker arrived illegally in Vanimo in West Sepik, he or she should be dealt with promptly before he or she could travel further.
“Because when we are dealing with a person who has arrived here in Vanimo who is an asylum seeker, we need to deal with him quickly rather than allow him to venture further into the country,” he said.
“It will be hard to deal with that person after passing Vanimo.”
Meanwhile, Immigration officials at the border with Indonesia said their work had been affected by the inconsistent power supply.
Peter Solomon, the officer in charge of Immigration at the Wutung border, told the committee members that although their information and technology system was linked to the international border management service network to detect transnational criminals, they had no power supply.
“So most times we are in the dark and we just clear them (people crossing the border) to enter PNG.”
He said the new border administration complex built by the Border Development Authority was yet to be opened.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK