In Papua-New Guinea, the condition of hundreds of refugees from Irian Jaya is causing concern to the welfare workers and government authorities trying to help them.
AERIAL VIEW & CU Imonda area and border post (11 miles from West Irian border)
CU Refugees in camp
CU Refugee mother holding baby
GV Refugee camp
GV Father Graham Oswin walks towards refugees
CUs Refugee parents and children suffering form tropical sores (3 shots)
CU Refugee explaining in native tongue how Indonesians attacked their village (3 shots)
LV Refugees in camp
CU Father Oswin talking to newsman in English
CU Shots of refugees in camp with Father Oswin's voice continuing (5 shots)
aerials border post, Imonda/refugee camp/pitiful state of children diseased legs/ refugees tell story/ Father Graham Oswin with refugees/ ???
FATHER OSWIN: "They said that a black helicopter had come and that it was dropping bombs."
STANNARD: "And, that's the reason they ran away?"
OSWIN: "Yes, they were afraid. They ran. I believe though, they heard a rumour their was going to be activity, and most of the people had, in fact, run away before that actually took place."
STANNARD: "And there's no intention of going back?"
OSWIN: "At the moment, they say not."
STANNARD: "But they are worried that the Indonesians are going to come and get them?"
OSWIN: "I don't say they are worried about that. I think they appear safe enough here. I don't think there's any likelihood they will come and get them here."
STANNARD: "The United Nations have given a guarantee to that effect?"
OSWIN: "As I've been told, the United Nations say they do not have to go back unless they want to go back."
STANNARD: "So they moved in here when they came across about a month ago? What sort of condition were they in then?"
OSWIN: "They were suffering from malnutrition. We had nurses in who gave them all the various injections and so on to try to get them up a bit in standard."
STANNARD: "They had malaria and pneumonia as well?"
OSWIN: "Oh, those sort of things. They had colds and pneumonia among them and malaria, yes."
STANNARD: "They're obviously very afraid of the Indonesians?"
OSWIN: "They are, yes."
STANNARD: "Why do you think that is?"
OSWIN: "I think they perhaps feel they've had some experiences which they themselves are not happy with. They feel that there'll be repercussions, perhaps, from their running away. I think it's as simple as that."
REPORTER, BRUCE STANNARD, CHANNEL 7, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In Papua-New Guinea, the condition of hundreds of refugees from Irian Jaya is causing concern to the welfare workers and government authorities trying to help them. An estimated one thousand people crossed the border into Papua-new Guinea in September alone, reportedly fleeing persecution by troops in the Indonesian-controlled Irian Jaya. They are now living in makeshift camps and receiving medical treatment provided by the Papua-New Guinea government and the United Nations -- but journalists visiting the refugees report that more aid is needed urgently.
SYNOPSIS: One of the camps is near Imonda, eleven miles (17.7 kilometres) from the border with Irian Jaya. The refugees here say they were forced to trek over mountains to escape persecution by Indonesian troops who raided their village and shot many people. They are the victims of a long struggle for sovereignty over the mineral-rich territory that was once Dutch New Guinea. Indonesia annexed the region in 1969, and has been waging a sporadic war ever since against bands of poorly equipped rebels.
Now fighting has intensified, driving these villagers across the order where people like Father Graham Oswin help them establish temporary homes.
Many refugees are suffering from tropical ulcers and malaria, contracted during their long walk from their villages. Some, especially children, urgently need specialised medical treatment. They live on rice and fish supplied by government agencies. Papua-New Guinea, which recognises Indonesia's control over Irian Jaya, is reportedly trying to persuade the refugees to return. But, fearing renewed military action near their homes, the West Irians are reluctant to go. Their host country has said it will not force them to return, and a rebel leader -- sentenced to two months jail for entering Papua-New Guinea illegally--has been told he can apply for political asylum. Reporter Bruce Stannard asked Father Oswin about the refugees' escape....
Scores of refugees from West Irian are living in makeshift camps near Imonda, II miles from the border in Papua-New Guinea. They are facing a health emergency -- many are suffering from tropical ulcers and malaria, contracted during a long trek over mountains to escape, as they report, persecution by Indonesian troops.
The refugees support a West Papuan separatist army, whose leader, Jakob Prai, aged 36, has just been gaolled in Port Moresby for two months for illegal entry into ??? Papua-New Guinea. Prai was arrested and sentenced with Otto Ondawaume, named previously as his " Defence Minister ".
Prime Minister Michael Somare later said that if the two men decided to seek political asylum after their gaol sentences, normal legal procedures would be followed.
Meanwhile, refugees supporting the Prai cause are dying on the border--many, especially the children, are critically ill and in urgent need of specialised medical treatment.
They told a reporter from ATN Channel 7 in Sydney, Bruce Stannard, that Indonesian troops pillaged their village, shot many dead and threatened the rest with rifles. They were allowed to leave, taking with them their meagre possessions on the arduous journey over the mountains into Papua New Guinea.
The refugees set up camp near a mission run by a former Australian priest, Father Graham Oswin. They also claimed that Indonesian planes were strafing villages over the border in an attempt to force the rebel army into the open
The PNG government and the United Nations are providing blankets and tents but disease will take a heavy toll unless food and medical attention is provided urgently.