Abepantai, Hamadi, and Dok IX are the locations where they shore their boats."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Security in the areas along the border between the Republic of Indonesia (RI) and its neighboring country of Papua New Guinea (PNG) must be tightened to prevent drug smuggling.

The RI-PNG border remains prone to drug smuggling, although some suspected individuals illegally crossing the border have been arrested.

Security officials have frequently arrested people possessing marijuana while attempting to illegally cross the PNG border to enter Jayapura, Papuas provincial capital; however, drug smuggling activities continue to thrive along the border.

"The lack of available personnel and the vast Papuan territory pose challenges in preventing the entry of drugs into the region, especially from the border," Head of the National Narcotics Agency of Papua Brigadier General Sukirman stated in Jayapura on Thursday.

Sukirman noted that the border area serves as a gateway for the entry of drugs into the Indonesian territory, as the two countries share borders in land and at sea.

According to Sukirman, drug smugglers often conduct transactions on boat at sea, or take an alternative road also called "jalan tikus" to smuggle drugs into Papua.

"Abepantai, Hamadi, and Dok IX are the locations where they shore their boats," Sukirman said.

Therefore, the agency, in cooperation with the respective institutions and law enforcers, is implementing more effective measures to prevent drug smuggling.

The agency had also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indonesian Military and the National Police on the prevention of drug smuggling.

He remarked that the agency has deployed 11 additional personnel this year to intensify its operations in the easternmost region of Indonesia.

"They have been assigned the task of mapping the entry gates used for drug smuggling and the areas where the drugs are smuggled," Sukirman revealed.

As the problem of drug smuggling is spiraling out of control, hence numerous prominent Papua community figures in Jayapura have urged the central government to tighten security arrangements along the border.

"We have urged the government to tighten security along the border with PNG," Skow Mabo community figure Yans Mahil Mallo remarked on Tuesday.

Mallo noted that such incidents often occur, thereby triggering anxiety among the local community.

He stated that several local figures from four villages located near the PNG border had committed to helping the authorities prevent drug trafficking in order to safeguard Papuas younger generation.

Hanock Rollo, another local community figure, also expressed concern over the problem of drug trafficking across the Skow (RI)-Wutung (PNG) border.

Drug traffickers had misused their red cards (instead of passports) needed to cross the border.

"I think it is the responsibility of the authorities to address the problem. We just give them information," he said, adding that he was concerned that the situation might worsen after the Skow model market was realized.

The Skow market is strategically located near the border with PNG, and thus, it is prone to drug smuggling from the neighboring country.

Stringent measures need to be implemented to stop smuggling activities involving drugs and other items along the border areas between the Indonesian easternmost province of Papua and PNG.

Most of the border areas are reportedly vulnerable to international drug trafficking due to the shortage of detection equipment.

The geographical location of the provinces provides easy access to drug smugglers via sea, air, and land transportation routes, and thus, the police and intelligence officials should be directed to intensify the early detection of drug distribution networks.

Papuas Narcotics Agency spokesman Senior Commissioner Antonius Kadarmanta also noted some time ago that the border areas are prone to drug smuggling from the neighboring country of PNG.

He remarked that the Papua province, which is directly adjacent to PNG, is affected by illicit drug trading practices, which need to be jointly addressed.

He claimed that the border areas between Papua and PNG are becoming a transit haven for illegal drug smugglers, but the government cannot take comprehensive steps due to resource constraints.

Antonius emphasized that the local authority has attempted to crack down on the circulation of drugs, but unmonitored entry points near the border with PNG have marred the efforts.

He further pointed out that the areas along the border need adequate drug detection equipment and a local anti-narcotics office to drive out possible drug smugglers and dealers from the neighboring country.

He also called on the local police to tighten security along the border areas with PNG, which are believed to be used by international drug rings to smuggle narcotics across the border to Indonesias Papua province.

According to the PNG Post-Courier report, increasingly more Papua New Guineans are getting involved in the multi-million kina international illegal drug trade with illicit drugs worth millions changing hands, specifically between Asia and the Pacific.

The report highlights the fact that the number of Papua New Guineans caught abroad in possession of these illicit drugs is on the rise, with three known cases that are currently being tried in international courts.

One of these cases involves 40-year-old Mary Yawari, who is facing life imprisonment or a fine of US$1.19 million after attempting to import US$1.87 million worth of methamphetamine into North Queensland in October, last year.

Therefore, Antonius emphasized that the border areas in Papua province need special attention with regard to these issues in order to address them more effectively.

He stated that Papua province has become an easy target for illicit drug trading practices due to the presence of several illegal border crossings used by dealers from both countries.

"Even along the Skow border between Jayapura and Wutung in PNG alone, there are some 8 illegal border crossings, not to mention open access to transport drugs through the sea route," he pointed out.

He affirmed that besides rampant drug smuggling practices, the number of drug abusers in Papua continues to increase.

"Therefore, we need support from all parties, government, and private institutions, including from other public elements, to combat the circulation of illicit drugs in Papua," Antonius stated.

Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Priyambodo RH
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