Marape pledges investigation into border shooting incident as Jakarta protests

One of the two detained Indonesian fishing boats in Port Moresby
One of the two detained Indonesian fishing boats anchored near the PNGDF naval base in Port Moresby. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Miriam Zarriga and Gorethy Kenneth in Port Moresby

Indonesia has lodged a diplomatic protest with Papua New Guinea after the alleged shooting of an Indonesian fishing boat captain within the PNG-Indonesia border last week.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape yesterday confirmed an investigation is being conducted into the shooting.

“PNG will be conducting a full investigation into this matter and will inform the nation and Indonesia government too as to what happened,” Marape said.

The fishing vessel was allegedly shot at by a PNG Defence Force Guardian-class patrol boat within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of PNG.

The fishing vessel escaped back to Merauke in Papua with the body of its captain while two other boats were rounded up and escorted to Port Moresby.

The Australian government has denied any involvement in the incident and in any recent joint fishing patrols with PNG.

The vessel that was shot at has been identified as KMN Calvin 02 with the captain of the vessel also identified by the Indonesian authorities.

Two other boats detained
It is reported that two other vessels have been detained by the PNGDF — the KMN Arsila 77 with a crew of seven and KMN Baraka Paris with a crew of six.

Indonesian Ambassador to PNG Andriana Supandy has already communicated with various PNG government officials.

The Indonesian Embassy in Port Moresby has also submitted an official diplomatic note to convey Indonesia’s various concerns.

The boats arrived in Port Moresby at midday yesterday and are being processed at the PNGDF Basilisk base.

On board these two vessels are 13 Indonesian fishermen who have also been detained.

In an interview with the Post-Courier, Ambassador Supandy said he had been advised that the boat crews would be prosecuted.

But the Indonesian government was still demanding an official explanation and a report which has not been received since their request for an investigation.

Indonesia summons officials
Ambassador Supandy said the Indonesian government had summoned PNG officials in Jakarta for an immediate investigation into this fatal shooting.

“Considering the strong and excellent bilateral relations between Indonesia and PNG, the Government of the Republic of Indonesia stands ready to proactively cooperate in the due process of law with the Government of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea,” Supandy said.

Last Thursday, Indonesia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned the PNG interim charge d’Affairs in Jakarta to convey a demand for comprehensively investigating the shooting incident by PNG security forces that had killed an Indonesian fisherman.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeks an explanation from the Papua New Guinea government regarding the shooting incident and presses for a thorough investigation and strict punishment to be applied if procedural violations are found, including the possibility of excessive use of force,” said Judha Nugraha, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director of Protection for Indonesian Citizens.

The last such shooting incident happened in 2006 with then Deputy PM Don Polye saying at the time that there would be an inquiry into the incident.

An Indonesian fisherman was shot with further three wounded in the incident.

Miriam Zarriga and Gorethy Kenneth are PNG Post-Courier reporters. Republished with permission.

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