Almost 700 West Irian refugees have settled into temporary camps inside Papua New Guinea. They've?
TV PAN Deserted Irian Jaya village
SV Imonda Patrol Post sign
SV PAN Papua New Guinea Defence Force members carrying supplies and putting up tents
SV PAN People watch as defence force puts up tents (6 shots)
CU ZOOM OUT TO SV Corporal watches men working (2 shots)
SV Women and children watching as more tents are put up (5 shots)
SV PAN Refugee camp (2 shots)
HERIOT: "They come across the border from villages like this, small and isolated, stretching across the never-never land between Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. At first, all refugees were held in a makeshift quarantine camp at a Catholic mission near the border, but, this week, a group of was moved to the Imonda Patrol Post about 20 kilometres inside Papua New Guinea. A contingent from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force provide tents, food and medical supplies. By the end of next week, this burgeoning tent community will accommodate almost 700 refugees, including 350 still in quarantine at the mission. Border officials say a third group of similar size may already be moving towards Papua New Guinea. That would bring the total up to almost one thousand people. The refugees are in relatively good health. Some contracted malaria during their arduous trek from Irian Jaya, but, only one person died. A small child, of natural causes. The Imonda refugees came from two villages. People from the first say they were driven out when an Indonesian helicopter dropped five bombs on the village. Those from the second claim Indonesian soldiers entered the villages and fired at people as they tried to escape. Nobody was killed, but many had to abandon their possessions. They don't speak English and most don't even speak Pidgin, so communication is difficult. It's been a long standing tradition that villagers from either side of the...... border cross over to trade, to marry or to visit their relatives. But, then, the national border line between Papua New Guinea and Indonesia has little meaning, except when it provides a temporary haven. This tradition of free movement, as well as the poor definition of the border, makes the region difficult to control. Whether by accident or design, Indonesian troops have twice crossed into Papua New Guinea within the last month. The troops were searching for members of the Irian Jaya rebel group, which in May this year, kidnapped seven Indonesian officials. One refugee at Imon
da told of fighting between Indonesians and the rebels, but, there's no reliable information about casualties. The rebels are led by 36-year old Yacob Pree, president of the self-styled Provisional Revolutionary Government of West Papua. He has two wives and four children and moves constantly around border villages with his rebel group, a primitive army, but one which had not been without impact. Refugees are he by-product. Geoff Heriot, A.B.C. News, Port Moresby."
REPORTER: GEOFF HERIOT
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Almost 700 West Irian refugees have settled into temporary camps inside Papua New Guinea. They've crossed into Papua New Guinea to escape Indonesian military activities along the northern border region. The Australian Broadcasting Commission's Geoff Heriot, who spent two weeks with the refugees, reports.