Indon recon flight upsets PNGDF

National, Normal

The National, Monday, May 23, 2011

THE Papua New Guinea Defence Force said it is disappointed with the Indonesian government’s failure to report a reconnaissance flight over the country last Saturday.
Police reports confirmed locals panicked after an unidentified helicopter flew from Indonesia’s Papua province over the military checkpoint at Wutung and continued up to 5km inland.
It is understood the Indonesian government had not released any notification for the run of their aircraft over PNG soil.
Batas, the central market centre at the border  of the two countries remains closed indefinitely after PNG citizens were recalled onto the PNG side of the border for their safety.
PNGDF chief of staff Capt Tom Urr said the helicopter was carrying delegates to the border but he could not say why.
“Our expression of disappointment has been communicated to authorities in Jakarta by the Indonesian consulate in the province over the matter,” he said.
“We are still waiting for the details of the flight,” he said from Port Moresby.
Urr could not say whether the helicopter belonged to the military.
He said that would have to be confirmed by Jakarta.
He said a military liaison took place twice a year between the countries.
“There are more talks in relation to our traditional border crossers rather than such issues.”
Urr denied any possible security threat posed by the flight.
West Sepik provincial police commander Tobby Hamago said the border gates were locked and only locals with passports allowed to pass into Jayapura.   
Hamago said Indonesian officials failed to meet at the border on Tuesday.
Acting Commissioner of Police Anthony Wagambie said the Department of Foreign Affairs was handling the matter.
Border administration officials in West Sepik declined to comment on the matter.
Attempts to get comments from the Department of Foreign Affairs failed as secretary Michael Mauwe is overseas.