Jayapura (ANTARA News) - Trade across the border between Papua and Papua New Guinea (PNG) via Skouw, Jayapura, is stopped after the fire that gutted the border market on Saturday night.

"We have agreed with the local traders to stop business across the border pending the reconstruction of the market center," head of the Border Management and Foreign Cooperation Agency of the Papua province Suzana D. Wanggai,said here on Monday.

Suzana said the PNG government has been informed of the decision to stop cross border trade via Skouw.

Normally the market was open for traders from Papua New Guinea every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Suzana said the information is necessary as almost all buyers at the market center are Papua New Guineans.

"They have to accept the condition as it is a force majeure. But people remain free to cross the borders," she said.

Emergency market center is expected to built immediately by the security forces in cooperation with the local traders.

The district administration has no budget for the reconstruction of the market center, formerly built by the trade ministry.

"The local traders need the market reopened soon that they could resume business selling goods for buyers from across the border," Suzana said .

The fire on Saturday desytroyed around 200 kiosks in the frontier area of Skouw, Muara Tami, in the city of Jayapura.

Papua police chief Insp.Gen. Paulus Waterpauw said the fire broke out at 18.20 local time destroying most of the kiosk in the border market center.

"The fire could not be put out immediately as the fire truck was out of function that the military soldiers have to act as fire fighters," the police chief said.

Paulus said short circuit in one of the wooden kiosks was believed to be the cause of the fire.

The incident came after recent visit to Skouw by Coordinating Minister for Law, Security and Political Affairs Wiranto, and Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Panjaitan and Australian Attorney General George Brandis and Ambassador Paul Gripson.

Wiranto invited the two Australian official to visit Papua to see condition in the countrys easternmost and most backward region.(*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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