AAP: PNG launches border security operation

PAC:PNG launches border security operation

PORT MORESBY, Jan 17 AAP – Papua New Guinea has launched its biggest ever joint forces security crackdown on the border with Indonesia to combat illegal activities like people smuggling, gun and drug trafficking._

PNG’s Defence Force has massed in Vanimo, in PNG’s West Sepik Province, along with police, customs and foreign affairs officials, to tackle the numerous illicit acts perpetrated along the border region._

The operation, codenamed Sunset Merona and set to cost 5.3 million kina ($A2 million), was launched at the weekend as a show of strength by the PNG government, both PNG’s national newspapers reported on Monday._

PNG’s Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambe told assembled troops the massive effort would tackle one of the country’s ongoing problems: border security._

“This is one of the biggest combined operations that involve government agencies to ensure the sovereignty of our country is maintained,” he said._

Acting director general of PNG’s National Security Advisory Committee Secretariat, Ian Jinga, said the operation proved the government was committed to border protection.

“We are all aware of our border problems,” he said.

“There are national border agencies on the ground in the border provinces that are tasked to work closely with provincial authorities to manage our international borders, however, due to logistical and resource constraints these authorities are unable to effectively manage our borders.”

Mr Jinga said this latest effort would change that.

“The national government is here to establish its authority,” he said.

AAP ig/srp _

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