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Governor of Indonesia’s Papua Province Deported From Papua New Guinea

April 4, 2021, 05.06 AM – When Papua governor Lukas Enembe went through back roads on his jaunt across the border to the Papua New Guinea town of Vanimo for a traditional foot massage on Wednesday, March 31, the trip seemed like the perfect antidote for his frayed nerves.

Little did the Democrat Party politician know that he was in for a bigger headache, after Papua New Guinean authorities deported him two days later on Friday for “illegal stay”, or illegally entering the country without visa or other proper documents.

Lukas has come clean about the incident. “I went to [Papua New Guinea] to get foot massage therapy for the nerves on my feet, just as I regularly go to Jakarta to get therapy for my neural nerves," he said.

Also read: Indonesia Task Force Urges Greater Covid-19 Vigilance at Border Crossing Points

"I went [to Papua New Guinea] with my relative Hedrik Abodondifu and associate Eli Wenda, as well as [Indonesia consul to Papua New Guinea Allen Simarmata]." 

Lukas added that he “headed to Vanimo in Papua New Guinea with an ojek or motorcycle taxi driver, which I knew broke protocol with my standing as a senior government official. But then again, I headed to Papua New Guinea for health reasons, so I have no choice.”

Allen verified Lukas, but maintained that he “only knew Lukas was in Papua New Guinea when I  escorted him to the Skouw border crossing towards Indonesia."  

An example of a foot massageShutterstock An example of a foot massage

Failing to go incognito

Lukas maintained that he headed to Vanimo on the sly. But visit was not exactly discreet, as his photo was taken in front of the town’s Medallion Hotel before he headed back to Indonesian Papua via the Skouw border crossing, which is a short hop to Jayapura, the provincial capital.

There was no indication of his predicament until Indonesian immigration officials in Papua disclosed about the nature of his exit from Papua.

“Papua New Guinea officials did deport [Lukas] and his associates for entering the country illegally,” said the head of Papua province’s immigration office Novianti Sulastono. “We are still investigating how he managed to cross to Papua, in line with his standing as a senior official. ”

Also read: Papuan Insurgent Dies in Gun Battle With Indonesian Military

While Indonesian or Papua New Guinea officials did not say how the latter knew Lukas was in Papua New Guinea, the motorcycle taxi driver who has taken him has his own theories.

“My co-worker probably tipped off authorities in Papua New Guinea,” said Hendri, not his real name. “He grew suspicious when he noticed that Lukas paid me Rp. 100 thousand [$6.88] instead of the usual tariff of Rp. 7000 [$0.48] to take him to Papua New Guinea.”

Lukas did not say how many times he has gone back and forth to Papua New Guinea, or whether he has been previously deported. Papua is one of Indonesia's most troubled provinces, as it contends with corruption, mismanagement and an ongoing insurgency.

(Editor : Pythag Kurniati, Dheri Agriesta)


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