JAKARTA - The Indonesian Government has denied the fishermen caught recently in Vanimo were spies, reports Post-Courier Online. It claimed the Indonesian fisherman killed by PNG soldiers in Vanimo three weeks ago were invited by local fishermen in Vanimo. But the PNG Government officials operating in Vanimo stood by their word the locals did not invite the fishermen. They said they were still carrying out further investigations to ascertain the reports the fishermen were spies.
The Indonesian Embassy in Port Moresby in a press release said the information in the PNG mass media was incorrect, misleading and biased with nothing from the Indonesians side. The statement stated the Indonesian fishermen were present in the West Sepik waters at the invitation of the local villagers, as both parties had forged a co-operative working arrangement to market their catches at better prices across the boarder in Jayapura. The statement also stated that there was no truth in suggestions that there had been increased number Indonesian armed force deployed along the Indonesia-PNG border.
PNG officials in Vanimo said crossing the border waters was a national matter and the local villagers had no authority to decide who moved in and out. They maintained that the fishermen were illegally fishing in PNG waters at the time of the shooting.