Five Papua Fishermen Missing After PNG Military Allegedly Sets Boat on Fire

Jayapura. Five Indonesian fishermen remained missing as of Sunday after military officers in neighboring Papua New Guinea allegedly told them to jump off their boat before setting it on fire.

A total of 10 fishermen from the Papua district of Merauke were on board a fishing boat searching for sea cucumbers in waters off Merauke, near the border between Indonesia and PNG, on Thursday, when they were accused of breaching the border.

Dozens of PNG military soldiers stopped the boat, and brought the men on board the military ship, before setting the boat — along with its load — on fire.

The 10 Indonesian fishermen were then told to jump into waters approximately 5 kilometers away from Merauke’s coast, Papua Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Pujo Sulistyo said.

“Five of them survived. They were able to reach an [Indonesian Navy] post… in Merauke,” Pujo said on Saturday. “But the whereabouts of five others are unknown.”

On Sunday, a joint team from the Indonesian Navy, the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) and local volunteers continued the search for the five missing fishermen.

Brig. Gen. (Marine) Buyung Lalana, the commander of the Indonesian Navy’s Merauke office, said the Navy ship KRI BOA was ready to be dispatched if the search yielded no results.

He added the Indonesian Navy was investigating the matter.


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