Border officers seek protection

Main Stories
The National,Tuesday July 5th, 2016

PUBLIC servants at the Wutung border post manning the border with Indonesia want police officers there for protection, an official says.
The public servants are from the Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority, Border Development Authority (BDA), Customs and National Agriculture Quarantine Inspection Authority.
Immigration official Peter Solomon said they often faced threats from locals, who they had to stop from crossing into Indonesia because they did not have proper documents.
“We only allow people with passports to cross. But we have problems authorising locals with traditional border crossing permits to go across,” he said.
“They threaten us when we do not allow them to go across. It is wrong to allow them (to cross) because we will be blamed if anything happens to them in Indonesia.”
BDA officers Beatrice Wai and Justine Kubul said they faced a lot of problems with the people and needed police protection.
“Police don’t exist here. We have to go all the way to Vanimo to lodge a complaint if we are threatened,” Wai said.
“When locals are not happy with something, they will abuse us publicly. Just last week, one of the BDA staff was almost hit by a brick thrown by a local.”
Provincial police commander Robert Gesa said there was no space at the border post to accommodate police officers.
“Police officers in uniform hang around the post. How can they work if they don’t have an office?
“This has been a problem since I came here in 2013,” Gesa said.
Gesa said six police officers lived in police quarters at the Wutung station but they had no office to operate from.