By CHARLES MOI
Papua New Guinea Immigration officials will investigate the case of a 55-year-old woman detained by Australian Border Force officials at the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre after she sought medical treatment in Australia.
Chief Migration Officer Solomon Kantha told The National via email yesterday that he was not aware of the incident but would get more details.
“We’ll try to get more details,” Kantha said.
According to ABC Australia, Rapia Komonde was taken by her husband to a medical centre on Saibai Island in the Torres Strait in February after suffering acute appendicitis.
She was then flown to Thursday Island and later to Cairns Hospital. Australian Border Force officials intervened and sent her to the Brisbane Immigration Transit Accommodation Centre.
Komonde is from Sigabaduru, a coastal village in Western. The village is about three kilometres from Saibai Island in the Torres Strait of Queensland.
The village falls under the Torres Strait Treaty which allows travel between PNG and the Torres Strait without a passport.
Komonde told the Torres Strait News that she was not a criminal. “I came for a medical reason but they sent me to Brisbane. Why?” she asked.
“I have never been this far south. I have only ever been to Thursday Island once before.”
A spokesperson at the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby told The National that arrangements were being made for her return to PNG.
“After surgical treatment in Cairns and discharge from hospital, this individual required further medical care,” the spokesperson said.
“It was deemed this care could be best provided in Brisbane.”
By CHARLES MOI