September 14, 2021The NationalMain Stories
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
AN arms deal to smuggle guns from Indonesia went wrong after a middleman based in West Sepik went into hiding with the money, police border commander Chief Supt Peter Philip says.
“The middleman based at a border village in Vanimo went into hiding after getting money from guns buyers based in East Sepik,” he said.
“The cheated gun buyers in frustration then revealed to the police that a Papua New Guinea man living in Jayapura was the main dealer of illegal guns for Papua New Guineans and drug buyers from Jayapura in Indonesia.
“He is also a dealer for learning aids, school uniforms and other essential education materials for schools in East Sepik.
“Procuring education materials for schools is just a cover-up for his real illegal dealings.
“We are now working with Indonesian immigration officers to check his residential status as we believe that he is living illegally in Jayapura with his West Papuan wife.”
Chief Supt Philip urged villagers along the PNG-Indonesian border to stop facilitating illegal trading.
“Such illegal trading is bad for both countries,” he said.
“You must not abuse your privilege as a traditional border crosser and facilitate the smuggling of guns and drugs along the border.
“Instead of going across the border to Indonesian side to do gardening, hunting, fishing and visiting relatives, you are smuggling guns and drugs.
“And then you come over to your village on the Papua New Guinea side.
“With the breakout of Delta variant strand of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), you have to play your part to prevent the Covid-19 from spreading into Papua New Guinea.”
Chief Supt Philip also said the middleman and the dealer were just part of many such syndicates operating in Western and West Sepik in PNG and West Papua in Indonesia.
“Such syndicates are facilitating a surge in drugs-for-guns trade along the PNG-Indonesian-Australian borders in preparation for the 2022 national elections in the Highlands region,” he said.
“They (Highlanders) are amassing weapons because their enemy clans are also doing that.
“Stock-piling of guns in the Highlands region is for security reasons in case they get attacked by their enemies if the election outcome in their electorate does not go down well with their enemies.
“We have Southern Highlanders, Western Highlanders and Hela people smuggling marijuana to Balimo in the Middle Fly, Western, to sell/exchange for arms.
“We also have Engans and Jiwakas smuggling marijuana to the Sepik provinces.
“Eastern Highlands and Chimbu people smuggling marijuana to Kikori and Baimuru areas in Gulf, which is the transit point of the guns and drug trade with Western.”