The National- Monday, January 17, 2011
By ANGELINE KARIUS
INCREASE in illegal activities such as drug smuggling, arms trade and gun trafficking along the PNG-Indonesian border have sparked security concerns among locals living in Vanimo, West Sepik.
In addressing these concerns, a combined security operation was launched in the border town yesterday.
Code-named Sunset Merona, the operation would be carried out by disciplined forces personnel from the PNG Defence Force, police and Correctional Services, customs and foreign affairs.
The Sandaun provincial administration, through its security advisory committee, had requested the national government to intervene and re-establish authority and confidence at the border town.
However, reports said because of the long bureaucratic processes and procedures in the government system, the response did not come until last month.
Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie launched Sunset Merona on Saturday.
Acting director-general of the national security advisory committee secretariat Ian Jinga said at the joint parade: “This demonstrates and represents the national governments desire to pay greater attention in the management of our international borders.
“It also represents a response by the government to a call by the Saundaun provincial authority for government intervention.”
Provincial administrator and chairman of the provincial intelligence committee Joe Sungi said for a long time, the people of Sandaun had complained about security and related issues at the border.
“Now, the national government has responded,” Sungi said.
Wagambie said the government’s approach to addressing these security and sovereignty issues would involve other stakeholders.
“All related issues will be addressed by specialised personnel at the border where both land and marine policing will take place,” he said.
He also warned combined task force commander acting Assistant Police Commissioner Jerry Frank to ensure all members involved in the operation stayed sober for the duration of the operation and to stay focused on what they should do.
He said the operation would cost about K3 million.