West Sepik governor refutes claims by Parkop

National, Normal

The National- Thursday, February 3, 2011

 WEST Sepik Governor Simon Solo has refuted claims by NCD Governor Powes Parkop that border operation Sunset Merona had inflicted more harm than good to the people. 

This follows after a three-page letter was submitted to Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare, by NCD Governor Parkop to stop the operation.  

Parkop claimed he received reports that West Papuan permissive residents, locals and traditional border passers had been harassed, intimidated and assaulted by members of Sunset Merona team. 

“Operation Sunset Merona has so far brought peace and confidence to the people of Vanimo town and West Sepik as a whole with excellent results being achieved so far. 

“I read with dismay that Parkop has written a shallow letter to the prime minister, asking him to stop the Sunset Merona operation. 

“The operation has produced good results so far and that is what the people of this province have been crying.” 

He said Vanimo had experienced at least five senseless killings last year and a host of other law and order problems but now people were moving around in peace. 

Solo added that West Papuans who had recognised legal status to live in PNG were not affected and that the operation was only targeting illegal border crossers. 

Combined task force commander Gary Frank said that the operation was tasked to protect and ensure the wellbeing of more than 100 West Papuan detainees. 

He said the team was also tasked to ensure also their relocation to East Awin refugee camp in Kiunga, Western, was a safe one. 

“We are doing our best to ensure they are well looked after as we are also working closely with other line government agencies,” Frank said.