THE ongoing repatriation of Indonesian citizens living in Papua New Guinea continued yesterday, when about 200 were flown to Jayapura in two flights out of Port Moresby.
In the biggest voluntary repatriation since its start in 2006, about 300 Papuans have returned home since last Thursday.
Indonesian Ambassador to PNG, Bom Soeryanto said last Friday that the repatriation was voluntary.
“They are returning because they hear that Indonesia is now a better place to live in and Papua has self-autonomy,” Mr Soeryanto said.
He said a military C130 aircraft was used in the exercise, out of Wewak and Port Moresby for Papuans.
Last Thursday, 141 were repatriated from Wewak as part of the programme to return about 700 Indonesian citizens living in PNG.
Mr Soeryanto said the Papuans who were repatriated came from Kiunga, Daru, Port Moresby, Lihir, Rabaul, Buka, Goroka, Bulolo, Lae, Vanimo, Wewak, Manus and Madang.
Another smaller batch in Kiunga, Western province, will be returning at their own time, either through Mindiptana, or Merauke.
One of the repatriates, Benyamin Adolf Prawar, 60, said he had been living in PNG for 30 years when he was returned, after escaping Irian Jaya, the previous name for Papua province, in 1979 for political reasons.
This is a voluntary repatriation, those who may wish to return to PNG later are free to do so.